Photo of Wayne Curtis

Wayne Curtis



  • Chemical Engineering

45 Greenberg Building


Personal or Departmental Website

Research Areas:

Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology, Energy and Environment

Interest Areas:

Chemical production and protein expression from plant tissue cultures, bioreactor design for non-traditional fermentation, plant genetic engineering




  • BS, Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 1984
  • Ph D, Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 1988


Book, Chapters

  • William A Muzika, Nymul E Khan, Lauren M Jackson, Nicholas Winograd and Wayne R Curtis, 2015, Production of biofuel-related isoprenoids derived from Botryococcus braunii algae, Springer, pp. 20
  • Wayne R Curtis and Matthew S Curtis, 2014, Biomass-2-Energy, World Technology Evaluation Center, Inc, Lancaster, PA, USA, pp. 20
  • Wayne R Curtis, 2005, Application of bioreactor design principles to plant micropropagation, Chapter 2: Liquid Systems for In Vitro Propagation, Springer, pp. 21-40

Parts of Book

  • Wayne R Curtis and Amalie L. Tuerk, 2005, Oxygen transport in plant tissue culture systems, Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 173-186
  • Wayne R Curtis, 2005, Plant Biotechnology: Protein Production in Transgenic Plants: Development and Commercialization, Marcel Dekker, pp. 2489-2500

Journal Articles

  • Sergio L Florez, Morgan E Shires, Tina SL Lai and Wayne R Curtis, 2017, "Inducible somatic embryogenesis in Threobroma cacao achieved using the DEX-activatable transcription factor-glucocorticoid receptor fusion", Biotechnology Letters
  • Jun Wang, Theresa , Pierre , John McGowen and Wayne R Curtis, 2016, "A preliminary implementation of metabolic-based pH control to reduce CO2 usage in outdoor flat-panel photobioreactor cultivation of Nannochloropsis oceanica microalgae", Algal Research, 18
  • Mustafa Erbakan, Brandon S Curtis, B. Tracy Nixon, Manish Kumar and Wayne R Curtis, 2015, "Advancing Rhodobacter sphaeroides as a platform for expression of functional membrane proteins", Protein Expression and Purification, 115, pp. 109-117
  • Nymul E Khan, S. Eric Nybo, Joe Chappell and Wayne R Curtis, 2015, "Triterpene hydrocarbon production engineered into a metabolically versatile host--Rhodobacter capsulatus", Biotechnology & Bioengineering, 112, (8)
  • Trevor R Zuroff, Andrew C Tolonen, Mohandass Ramya and Wayne R Curtis, 2015, "Physiology, genomics, and pathway engineering of an ethanol tolerant strain of Clostridium phytofermentans", Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81, (24), pp. 29
  • Selvaraju Gayathri Devi, Sudhakar Radha, Anwar Aliya Fatima, Wayne R Curtis and Ramya Mohandass, 2015, "A rapid and economical method for efficient DNA extraction from various soils and sediments suitable for metagenomic applications", PLOS one, 10, (7)
  • Steven Eric Nybo, Nymul Kahn, Benjamin M. Woolston and Wayne R Curtis, 2015, "Metabolic engineering in chemolithoautotrophic hosts for the production of fuels and chemicals", Metabolic Engineering, 30
  • Kristin M. O'Neill, Anne M. Schilthuis, Calvin A. Leiter, Kurt M. Neihaus, Nicole A. Judge, Edda Twiddy, Alison D. O'Brien and Wayne R Curtis, 2015, "Scale-up of transgenic tobacco cells that express intimin of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 for use as an oral vaccine in cattle", In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Plant, 51
  • Sergio L. Florez, Rachel L. Erwin, Siela N. Maximova, Mark Guiltinan and Wayne R Curtis, 2015, "Enhanced somatic embryogenesis in Theobroma cacao using the homologous BABYBOOM transcription factor", BMC Plant Biology, 15, (121)
  • Jun Wang and Wayne R Curtis, 2015, "Proton stoichiometric imbalance during algae photosynthetic growth on various nitrogen sources: Towards metabolic pH control", Journal of Applied Phycology
  • A. Pena-Francesch, S. Florez, H. Jung, A. Sebastian, I. Albert, Wayne R Curtis and M. C. Demirel, 2014, "Materials fabrication from native and recombinant thermoplastic squid proteins", Advanced Functional Materials, 24, (47), pp. 7401–7409
  • Nymul E. Khan, John A. Myers, Amalie L. Tuerk and Wayne R Curtis, 2014, "A process economic assessment of hydrocarbon biofuels production using chemoautotrophic organisms", Bioresource Technology, 172, pp. 201-211
  • Siela Maxiomva, Sergio Florez, Xiangling Shen, Nicolas Niemenak, Yufan Zhang, Wayne R Curtis and Mark Guiltinan, 2014, "Genome-Wide Analysis Reveals Divergent Patterns of Gene Expression During Zygotic and Somatic Embryo Maturation of Theobroma cacao L.", the Chocolate Tree., 14, (185)
  • Trevor R. Zuroff, Gu Weimin, Rachel L Fore, Susan B Leschine and Wayne R Curtis, 2014, "Insights into Clostridium phytofermentans biofilm formation: aggregation, micro-colony development and the role of extracellular DNA", Microbiology, 160, pp. 25
  • Mustafa Erbakan, Y Shen, Peter J Butler, M Grelakowski, Manish Kumar and Wayne R Curtis, 2014, "Molecular cloning, overexpression and characterization of a novel water channel protein from Rhodobacter sphaeroides", PLOS ONE, 9, (1)
  • J. A. Myers, B. S. Curtis and Wayne R Curtis, 2013, "Improving accuracy of cell and chromophore concentration measurements using optical density", BMC Biophysics, 6, (4), pp. 1-16
  • W. Kharti, R. Hendrix, T. Niehaus, J. Chappell and Wayne R Curtis, 2013, "Hydrocarbon Production in High Density Botryococcus braunii Race B Continuous Culture", Biotechnology & Bioengineering, 111, (3), pp. 493-503
  • M. L. Scherholz and Wayne R Curtis, 2013, "Achieving pH control in microalgal cultures through fed-batch addition of stoichiometrically-balanced growth media", BMC Biotechnol., 13, (1), pp. 1-16
  • Wayne R Curtis, T. Zuroff and S. Barri, 2013, "Consortia-mediated bioprocessing of cellulose to ethanol with a symbiotic Clostridium phytofermentans/yeast co-culture", Biotechnology for Biofuels, 6, (59), pp. 25
  • Trevor* Zuroff and Wayne R Curtis, 2012, "Developing symbiotic consortia for lignocellulosic biofuel production", Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 93, pp. 1423-1435
  • J. S. Larsen and Wayne R Curtis, 2012, "RNA viral vectors for improved Agrobacterium-mediated transient expression of heterologous proteins in Nicotiana benthamiana cell suspensions and hairy roots", BMC Biotechnology, 12, (21)
  • B. M. Woolston, C. Schlagnhaufer, J. Wilkinson, J. Larsen, Z. Shi, K. Mayer, D. Waters, Wayne R Curtis and C. Romaine, 2011, "Long-Distance Translocation of Protein during Morphogenesis of the Fruiting Body in the Filamentous Fungus, Agaricus bisporus", PLoS ONE, 3, (12), pp. e28412
  • K. M. O'Neill, J. S. Larsen and Wayne R Curtis, 2008, "Scale-up of Agrobacterium-mediated transient protein expression in bioreactor-grown Nicotiana glutinosa plant cell suspension culture", Biotechnol. Prog., 24, (2), pp. 372-376
  • A. Aziz, B. C. Werner, K. L. Epting, C. D. Agosti and Wayne R Curtis, 2007, "The cumulative and sublethal effects of turbulence on erythrocytes in a stirred-tank model", Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 35, (12), pp. 2108-2120
  • J. I. Collens, H. S. Mason and Wayne R Curtis, 2007, "Agrobacterium-mediated viral vector-amplified transient gene expression in Nicotiana glutinosa plant tissue culture", Biotechnol Prog., 23, (3), pp. 570-576
  • Wayne R Curtis, 2005, "Application of Bioreactor Design Principles to Plant Micropropagation", Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture, 81, (3), pp. 255-264
  • Lauren B. Andrews and Wayne R Curtis, 2005, "Comparison of transient protein expression in tobacco leaves and plant suspension culture", Biotechnol. Prog, 21, (3), pp. 946-952
  • N. I. Kumar, Wayne R Curtis and J. Hahm, 2005, "Laterally aligned, multiwalled carbon nanotube growth using Magnetospirillium magnetolacticum", Appl. Phys. Lett., 86, pp. 173101-173103
  • J. I. Collens, D. R. Lee, A. M. Seeman and Wayne R Curtis, 2004, "The Development of Auxotrophic Agrobacterium tumefaciens for Gene Transfer in Plant Tissue Culture", Biotechnology Progress, 20, (3), pp. 890-896
  • Divakar Ramakrishnan and Wayne R Curtis, 2004, "Trickle-bed root culture bioreactor design and scale-up: Growth, fluid-dynamics, and oxygen mass transfer", Biotechnology & Bioengineering, 88, (2), pp. 248-260
  • J. L. Cuello, P. N. Walker and Wayne R Curtis, 2003, "Design of Ebb-and-Flow Bioreactors (EFBR) for Immobilized "Hairy Root" Cultures: Part I. Preliminary Design Models and Culture Parameters", Transactions of the ASAE (American Society of Agricultural Engineers), 46, (5), pp. 1457-1468
  • J. L. Cuello, P. N. Walker and Wayne R Curtis, 2003, "Design of Ebb-and-Flow Bioreactors (EFBR) for Immobilized "Hairy Root" Cultures: Part II. Growth Studies and Model Verifications", Transactions of the ASAE (American Society of Agricultural Engineers), 46, (5), pp. 1469-1476
  • Wayne R Curtis, 1994, "Application of defense signal transduction to enhance secondary metabolite production from plant tissue culture", Trends in Biotechnology
  • G. Singh, G. R. Reddy and Wayne R Curtis, 1994, "Use of binding measurements to predict elicitor dosage requirements for secondary metabolite production from root cultures", Biotechnology Progress, 10, (4), pp. 365-371
  • S. V. Ramakrishna, G. R. Reddy, Wayne R Curtis and A. E. Humphrey, 1993, "Production of solavetivone by immobilized cells of Hyoscyamus muticus", Biotechnology Letters, 15, (3), pp. 301-306
  • S. A. McKelvey, J. A. Gehring, K. A. Hollar and Wayne R Curtis, 1993, "Growth of plant root cultures in liquid- and gas-dispersed reactors", Biotechnology Progress
  • Wayne R Curtis, 1993, "Cultivation of roots in bioreactors", Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 4, (2)
  • Wayne R Curtis and A. H. Emery, 1993, "Plant cell suspension culture rheology", Biotechnology Bioengineering, 42, pp. 520-526
  • G. R. Reddy, M. W. Signs, H. E. Flores and Wayne R Curtis, 1993, "Reversed-phase liquid chromatographic isolation of lubimin and solavetivone from Hyoscyamus muticus 'hairy' root cultures", Journal of Chromatography, 657, pp. 440-444
  • G. R. Reddy, P. Reddanna, C. C. Reddy and Wayne R Curtis, 1992, "11-HEPTE is the major deoxygenation product of lipoxygenase isolated from hairy root cultures of Solanum tuberosum", Biochemical Biophysical Research Communication, 189, (3), pp. 1349-1352
  • S. Pannuri, G. R. Reddy, D. McNeill and Wayne R Curtis, 1992, "Interpreting the role of phosphorous and growth rate in enhanced fungal induction of sesquiterpenes from Hyoscyamus muticus root cultures", Applied Microbiology Biotechnology
  • J. P. Corry, W. L. Reed and Wayne R Curtis, 1992, "Enhanced recovery of solavetivone from Agrobacterium transformed root cultures of Hyoscyamus muticus using integrated product extraction", Biotechnol. Bioeng., 42, pp. 503-508
  • D. S. Dunlop and Wayne R Curtis, 1991, "Synergistic response of plant hairy root cultures to phosphate limitation and fungal elicitation", Biotechnology Progress, 7, pp. 434-438
  • S. R. Schnapp, Wayne R Curtis, R. A. Bressan and P. M. Hasewaga, 1991, "Growth yields and maintenance of unadapted and NaCl adapted tobacco cells grown in semi-continuous culture", Plant Physiology, 96, pp. 1289-1293
  • S. R. Schnapp, Wayne R Curtis and P. M. Hasewaga, 1991, "Estimation of growth yield and maintenance coeffecient of plant cell suspensions", Biotechnology Bioengineering, 38, pp. 1131-1136
  • Wayne R Curtis, P. M. Hasegawa and A. H. Emery, 1991, "Modeling linear and variable growth in phosphate-limited suspension cultures of opium poppy", Biotechnology Bioengineering, 38, pp. 371-9
  • P. J. Westgate, Wayne R Curtis, A. H. Emery and P. M. Hasegawa, 1991, "Approximation of continuous growth of Cephalotaxus harringtonia plant cell suspension cultures using fed-batch operation", Biotechnology Bioengineering, 38, pp. 241-6
  • Wayne R Curtis, 1990, "Interference of intracellular phosphate analysis by phosphatase in Papaver somniferum cell suspensions", Phytochem. Analysis, 1, pp. 70-73
  • Gayathri D Selvaraju, Anwar A Phatima, Mary Sanitha, Sellamuthu Iyappan, Wayne R Curtis and Ramya Mohandas, , "Expression and characterization of alkaline protease from the metagenomic library of tannery activated sludge", Journal of Bioscience and Engineering, 122, (6)
  • Sergio L Florez, Matthew S Curtis, Sydney E Shaw, Nathaniel K Hamaker, Jeffrey S Larsen and Wayne R Curtis, , "A temporary immersion plant propagation bioreactor with decoupled gas and liquid flows"

Conference Proceedings

  • H. E. Flores and Wayne R Curtis, 1992, "Approaches to understanding and manipulating biosynthetic potential of roots", Proc. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 665, pp. 188-209

Research Projects

  • May 2016 - April 2020, "CARRYOVER BREAD ABRDC: Advanced technologies to get improved yams in farmers hands," (Sponsor: NSF - Gates Foundation).
  • May 2016 - May 2017, "Collaboration Development Fund," (Sponsor: PSU PUNE).
  • January 2013 - December 2014, "Clean Coal, Renewable Energy and CO2 Mitigation using a Photosynthetic Algae Biofilm," (Sponsor: Penn State - PSIEE).

Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding Student Chapter, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, October 2017
  • Lawrence J. Perez Memorial Student Advocate Award, PSES (Penn State Engineering Society), April 2015
  • Outstanding Student Chapter Advisor Award, AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), November 2015
  • Outstanding Advisor Award, (PSES) Penn State Engineering Society, April 1993
  • Professor of the Year, Chemical Engineering, 1990 - 1991


Service to Penn State:

  • Presenter, Undergraduate Research Society, March 2017
  • Faculty, Industrial Partnership Advisory Committee, March 2017 - March 2017
  • Representative, Recruitment, AICHE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), March 2016 - March 2016
  • Representative, Graduate Recruitment Fair, AICHE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), November 2016 - November 2016
  • Advisor, Huck Institute Shared Facilities, Fermentation Pilot Plant Advisory Committee, July 2008 - October 2016
  • Presenter, Plant Biology PLBIO 513, April 2016
  • Contributor, Contributor, TEDxPSU, February 2016
  • Peer Reviewer, Peer Review, Engineering Graduate Student Council, April 2016
  • , Referee, Human Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) Program, Critical Design Reviews, March 2016
  • Faculty, IPAC, March 2016 - March 2016
  • Committee Member, Greenberg (Temporary Space) Building Committee, May 2015 - December 2016
  • Member, Committee Member, Barry Goldwater Scholarship Review Committee, 2010 - December 2016
  • Presenter, Plant Biology PLBIO 513, March 2015
  • Judge, PSU ChE Research Symposium, September 2015
  • Representative, Graduate Recruitment Fair, AICHE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), November 2015 - November 2015
  • Judge, National AIChE Poster Competition, AICHE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), November 2015
  • Attendee, ChE Majors Night, September 2015
  • Attendee, AfterTED, TEDxPSU, November 2015
  • Evaluator, Evan Pugh Professorship, October 2015 - November 2015
  • Member, Promotion & Tenure Committee, 2007 - December 2015
  • Advisor, AIChE National Meeting Trip - Atlanta, Student Chapter AIChE, November 2014
  • Presenter, Chemical Engineering Major Night, November 2014
  • Presenter, Graduate Recruitment Fair, AIChE Meeting Representative, November 2014
  • Presenter, Plant Biology PLBIO 513, March 2014
  • Participant, CEBME, HOK Building Committee, June 2015
  • Advisor, Advisor, MYN (Meet Your Neighbor) Penn State Podcast, May 2015
  • Liaison, SHC Liaison for ChE. Dept., Schreyers Honors College, 1989
  • Advisor, Adviser, AIChE Student Chapter, Student Chapter AIChE, 1991
  • Participant, Faculty Candidate Reviews, November 2016

Service to External Organizations:

  • Visiting ScientistSabbatical Leave, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, September 2016 - March 2017
  • Judge, American Institute of Chemical Engineering, August 2017
  • Judge, Undergraduate Poster Session, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, October 2017
  • Judge, First Annual Beer Brewing Competition, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, October 2017
  • Attendee, Participant, American Society of Plant Biologists, March 2016
  • Co-Organizer, Session Chair, AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), November 2016
  • Contributor, Contributor, SIVB: Society of In Vitro Biology, April 2016
  • Co-Organizer, Co-Convener, SIVB: Society of In Vitro Biology, May 2015
  • Coordinator, Event Coordinator/Host, AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), December 2015
  • External Reviewer, Examiner, SRM University, September 2015
  • , Synergy Werks, February 2015 - September 2015
  • 1st Vice ChairSociety of In Vitro Biology, Session Chair - Plant Propagation, June 2014 - July 2015
  • , Society of In Vitro Biiology, Meeting Programming, 2012 - 2014
  • FellowWiley Research Fellow, Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, March 2017



The Department of Biomedical Engineering administers the undergraduate major in biomedical engineering, and is a part of the university-wide Intercollege Graduate Degree Program, offering both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bioengineering. Our work combines traditional engineering principles with medicine and technology for the betterment of human health and society. 

Department of Biomedical Engineering

205 Hallowell Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-863-6614