Purdue engineer receives tech medal from President Obama

Green Tech America founder Nancy Ho, at right, and company scientist Abhijit Mukhopadhyay examine a sample of a yeast used in ethanol production in the company's laboratory. The Purdue Research Park-based company is producing genetically engineered yeast that can help companies manufacture cellulosic ethanol fuel more efficiently. (Purdue Marketing and Media photo/Andrew Hancock)
Green Tech America founder Nancy Ho, at right, and company scientist Abhijit Mukhopadhyay examine a sample of a yeast used in ethanol production in the company’s laboratory. The Purdue Research Park-based company is producing genetically engineered yeast that can help companies manufacture cellulosic ethanol fuel more efficiently. (Purdue Marketing and Media photo/Andrew Hancock)

12/22/2015 |

Nancy Ho, founder and president of Green Tech America Inc. and a research professor emerita in Purdue University’s School of Chemical Engineering, will receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama.

The award is the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed by the president of the United States. Recipients were honored during a White House ceremony.

Ho has focused her research on using recombinant DNA techniques to improve industrial microorganisms, particularly for production of renewable biofuels and bio-products by using renewable cellulosic resources as the feedstocks. Her most noted work has been the development of recombinant Saccharomyces yeast that can effectively produce cellulosic ethanol from all types of cellulosic plant materials such as corn stalks, wheat straws, wood and grasses. The original Saccharomyces yeast used for producing ethanol from corn and other edible feedstocks cannot ferment cellulosic sugars to produce transportation fuel such as ethanol. She founded Green Tech America Inc. in 2006 at the Purdue Research Park to produce and market the yeast and provide other services for cellulosic ethanol production.

“This is a most fitting honor for Dr. Ho, who has had a long and distinguished career in areas vital for energy research and industry,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “She is an exceptional researcher who has made an enormous contribution to science and technology.”

– Emil Venere
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