Dr. Singsaas had initially wanted to do general work with energy and photosynthesis, and upon learning about the compound isoprene, he began to question whether or not it could play a role in transforming carbon. He now applies his scientific training to research in biofuel and bioproduct production at UW-Stevens Point, focusing on developing microbial pathways to produce isoprene from biomass.
Aside from his research, one of the biggest takeaways for Eric throughout the licensing and commercialization process was the complexity of business development. A discovery in the lab may seem like an incredible breakthrough, but turning that into a profitable business product can be difficult. He said understanding if there is a market for a given product, then finding and making customer connections is sometimes the most challenging part of the process.
As he moves forward, Eric is focused on putting together the overall value chain of his isoprene production methods. He would like to take the methods from the invention stage they are in now to a much larger scale, such as factories, called bio-refineries, that make the renewable chemicals. While commercialization may seem to be the focus right now, he explained that research and development will always go hand in hand and that neither activity ever really stops. Thus, Eric will continue to work diligently with WiSys in both realms.