Research Interests

Dr. Bressler’s general area of research is the industrial application of chemical, thermal, and biological systems for the catalytic conversion of conventional agricultural products to platform chemicals, fuels, and value-added commodities.  The recognition of novel mechanisms and the optimization of catalytic biochemical pathways are of special interest.  His research program is unique in that it utilizes a multidisciplinary approach combining industrial microbiology, biotechnology, and analytical chemistry with previous experience in petrochemical conversions and upgrading in conjunction with scale-up and engineering.  Much of the biological work involves production, modification, purification, and design of biocatalytic systems.

One program that is currently underway is the pyrolytic conversion of beef tallow and crop-based oils to high-value specialty solvents and high-cetane alkane based fuels.  This program has been underway since 2003 and has undergoing patent and commercialization activities.  An additional major initiative is currently ongoing which is focused on refining first generation biofuel platforms for the production of additional high-value co-products.  The project was initiated in 2005 and utilizes various current industrial fermentation approaches and a wide variety of western Canadian based crop platforms.  Another program area focuses on the use and design of bioreactor systems for the conversion of lignocellulosic material and other agricultural streams to fermentable sugars using nanomembrane technology.

Dr. Bressler’s graduate training program is unique in that it trains students with strong academic backgrounds and communication skills in a multidisciplinary environment including projects in biotechnology, chemistry, industrial microbiology, and/or biochemical engineering.