Sonia M. Tiquia-Arashiro
Professor Tiquia’s is a professor of microbiology at the UM-Dearborn and has been working as an environmental microbiologist for more than 15 years. Her energy area of interest is on the use microbes to produce ethanol from switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). Switchgrass is considered a good candidate for biofuel, especially ethanol production due to its huge biomass output and high cellulose content. Tiquia’s approach is to use molecular tools, genomics, and cultivation/enrichment technologies to characterize novel organisms, microbial consortia, communities, activities, and other novel properties of cellulosic microbes; and to study their roles in biomass decomposition to address impediments of ethanol production.
Another ongoing project utilizes enrichment and culturing techniques to isolate novel microbes for biofuels production from synthesis gas (syngas) fermentation. This project seeks to combine experimental and computational tools to reveal the molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying the metabolic capabilities for producing bio-molecules of biofuel interest.
Her previous work resulted in over 50 publications in peer reviewed journals and more than 100 presentations at national and international meetings. She is the regional editor of the journal Environmental Technology, and currently leads a large research laboratory with many undergraduate scholars.
She takes great interest in teaching and mentoring undergrad and graduate students. She teaches microbiology, applied and environmental microbiology, microbial physiology and microbial genetics. She also teaches a biotechnology and bioprocessing course to biology and bioengineering majors, which covers bioengineering principles to analysis, development, and design of processes (i.e. fermentation and biofuel synthesis).