Haley Nicole McKeown

Chemical engineering

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2024

Additional details: Transfer student

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MORE | Spring 2024

Leveraging the Power of Ligninolytic Enzymes to Valorize Lignin to Polyvinyl Phenol

Lignocellulosic biomass is a renewable carbon-rich resource from plants and has attracted focus as an alternative source to fossil fuels. This study valorized p-coumaric acid, a major constituent component in lignin, using engineered bacterium to convert into the substituted phenol, 4-vinylphenol. Then, using ligninolytic enzymes, 4-vinylphenol was polymerized into polyvinyl phenol, a biopolymer. 13C pathway analysis was conducted to determine metabolic utilization of the p-coumaric acid, and in situ experiments were conducted to polymerize the monomer phenols. The resulting polymer was characterized using NMR and SEC (GPC) analysis.


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Additional projects from this student

Through engineering, bacteria can create and export enzymes to deconstruct PET plastics, promoting sustainability.


  • FURI
  • Spring 2023

Bacteria can be engineered to express enzymes to deconstruct PET plastics and address pollution.


  • FURI
  • Fall 2022