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Publications in VIVO

Kaar, Joel L. Associate Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • My research is broadly focused at the intersection of protein engineering, biocatalysis, and materials. We are specifically interested in how the convergence of these areas can lead to new opportunities to discover enzymes with improved properties and impart materials with biological function. Such opportunities have enabled the repertoire of synthetically important reactions catalyzed by enzymes to be significantly expanded. Additionally, through understanding and controlling the interaction of proteins with materials, it is feasible to design materials that sense and destroy toxic chemicals, resist fouling and self-repair, improve tissue engineering, and meld seamlessly with the body. A major element of this research, which is highly multi-disciplinary, is to address fundamental questions about the function and fate of proteins in non-native and harsh conditions. These questions are addressed using an amalgamation of biochemical, biophysical, and structural determination techniques.


  • Biocatalysis, Nonaqueous enzymology, Protein structure and function at material interfaces, Protein engineering, Biofuels, Tissue engineering, Bioremediation


selected publications


courses taught

  • CHEN 3010 - Applied Data Analysis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Teaches students to analyze and interpret data. Topics include engineering measurements, graphical presentation and numerical treatment of data, statistical inference, and regression analysis.
  • CHEN 4830 - Chemical Engineering Biokinetics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018
    Introduces chemical kinetics, chemical reactor design, and biological kinetics. Involves mass and energy balances for steady-state and transient reactor systems. Also covers residence time distribution, mass transfer, catalytic reactions, multiple steady states in reactors, enzyme kinetics, metabolic networks, and cell growth kinetics.
  • CHEN 4838 - Special Topics in Chemical Engineering
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
  • CHEN 5838 - Special Topics in Chemical Engineering
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Graduate-selected topics courses offered upon demand. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours.
  • CHEN 5919 - Special Topics in CHBE
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Spring 2020
    May be repeated up to 5 total credit hours.


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