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The lignocellulosic biofuels have drawn a lot of attentions in the past few years mainly because the fossil-based oil price continues
going up and starch-based biofuels compete with human food consumption. However the lignocellulosic biofuels are currently too
expensive because plant biomass is recalcitrant to microbial/enzymatic deconstruction. Two parallel approaches are being undertaken
to reduce the cost: 1) genetically modify plants to make their biomass (plant cell walls) easier to be degraded and 2) develop more robust
microbial systems to get higher biofuel yield with lower cost. We are employing bioinformatics data mining techniques to mine the
public microbial metagenome data from various environments, e.g. animal guts and decomposed biomass, for novel enzymes involved
in biomass degradation. We are also building a web-based database to host and annotate all these bioenergy-related enzymes so that
researchers all around the world can freely access these data.
Yin received his Ph.D. in Biology with a specialization in Bioinformatics from Peking University in Beijing, China in 2005. He then did two postdocs
both in Bioinformatics first in the State University of New York at Buffalo and then in the University of Georgia at Athens. In 2012, Dr. Yin joined the
Department of Biological Sciences of Northern Illinois University as an Assistant Professor. His lab focuses on applying bioinformatics approaches
to the bioenergy research. Dr. Yin has published ~40 research papers and book chapters. He is also on the editorial board of three international
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