Brandi BrownGraduate Research Assistant
Thank you for taking the time to visit our website! I am a PhD candidate in Biological Engineering at UNL, with the aim of becoming a professor of engineering. However, I have an unconventional path toward academia. After graduating from The Georgia Institute of Technology, I commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. During my five years of active service, I had the honor of leading hundreds of Airmen while developing and managing programs spanning multiple operations and continents. Having deployed to combat operations, I have proven that I can lead under pressure and deliver considerable critical thinking skills. I developed substantial leadership, teamwork, and program management skills that have already proven beneficial in academia and research. My experiences as an officer in the military coupled with those from my Masters of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems provided me with the foundation to be successful in my doctorate program.
I currently conduct research in Dr. Wilkin’s lab in Biological Systems Engineering (the Industrial Agricultural Products Center) that focuses on efficient bioprocess engineering of agricultural wastes into high valued products, and Dr. Saha has graciously allowed me to expand my skills in his systems and synthetic biology lab. My future aim is to lead a research lab that combines bioprocessing and synthetic biology, and these two advisors provide steadfast mentorship to set me down this path successfully. My dissertation research focuses on engineering Rhodopseudomonas palustrisCGA009, one of the most metabolically versatile microorganisms on the planet, to degrade agricultural waste (e.g. lignocellulosic biomass) as a renewable carbon source to produce bioplastics and biohydrogen.
I am also passionate about teaching and learning. Having completed UNL’s Graduate Student Teaching Fellowship program and earned an associate-level Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) certification, I am thrilled to apply these newfound skills to my TA position in the Biological Systems Engineering Senior Design Course (2020 – 2021).
When I am not in the lab, taking courses, or refining my pedagogy skills, I love weight lifting, competing in triathlons, and spending time with my family. My daughter will always be my greatest achievement, and she reminds me every day how beautiful life is.