To me there is nothing more exciting than watching a student learn and develop and there is no greater privilege than having the title of professor. My favorite part of my job is being able to mentor and teach students in a research context – be that in a biochemical engineering course or laboratory, through supervising undergraduate IQP/MQP projects or by advising doctoral students in their thesis work. There is no greater satisfaction than to watch a timid, insecure student gain confidence through knowledge and practice. I chose WPI because it is the ideal environment to support faculty and student collaboration to solve complex interdisciplinary research questions. I am inspired by the ability of nature, in particular plant systems, to adapt and respond to stresses to enable both survival and growth. Plants synthesize a diversity of specialized metabolites that serve as human health agents, flavors, colorings, agricultural chemicals and bioenergy feedstocks, but too often in low yields to be economically harvested. The primary focus of my research is on understanding the fundamental complexities in specialized metabolism and development of renewable, engineered plant cell culture systems to synthesize valuable clinical and industrial molecules.
Professional Highlights & Honors
In the News
WPI leads off the Telegram & Gazette’s College Town this week with a feature on professor Susan Roberts, head of the chemical engineering department. She developed a genetic engineering technique that could speed up manufacturing of a widely used cancer drug and lower its production costs, the T&G reported.
The Worcester Business Journal reported on the genetic engineering work by Susan Roberts, department head and professor of chemical engineering, which aims to double the product of paclitaxel, an ingredient in the world's best-selling cancer drug.