Stephen R. Hughes is a Research Molecular Biologist in the Renewable Product Technology (RPT) Research Unit, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Illinois. He was awarded an undergraduate degree in Biology in 1987 specializing in Genetics and a Ph.D degree in Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology in 1993.
He joined the USDA in 2003 and is responsible for supervising a laboratory to support high-throughput functional proteomic operations at NCAUR. He designed and built an integrated plasmid-based functional proteomic robotic platform to perform high throughput gene assembly, cloning, transformation, expression and assay operations for screening mutagenized genes to use in engineering industrial yeast strains for efficient bioethanol production.
Dr. Hughes has spent his career conducting research in all aspects of molecular biology and is recognized as an expert in the areas of heterologous protein expression, gene optimization, design of integrated robotic platforms for automated molecular biology routines, and improvement of microbes for profitable biofuel production. He has been invited to give more than 20 international and national presentations.. Dr. Hughes is first author on 14 peer-reviewed journal articles, has authored or co-authored 7 book chapters on biofuels, is listed as inventor on 3 patents. He is on the editorial board of 4 journals, participates in review panels for Department of Energy (DOE), Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), for USDA Research Position Evaluation System (RPES) and for National Science Foundation (NSF), Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), Ames, IA, and serves on the Advisory Board for Center for Bioprocessing Research and Development (CBRD) as part of the governor’s initiative for economic development in South Dakota.
1993-1996 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Neuroscience Department, Hoechst Marion Roussel, Inc., Bridgewater, NJ