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IBRL: Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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About IBRL



Blaschek portrait

Professor Hans Blaschek


Hans Blaschek received his Ph.D. in Food Science (Microbiology), at Rutgers University in 1980, his M.S. in Food Science at Rutgers University in 1977 and his B.A. in Biological Sciences at Rutgers College in 1974. He presently serves as the Director for the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL), University of Illinois where he is responsible for leading planning efforts for the IBRL. In addition, Hans holds the position of Theme Leader of Molecular Bioengineering of Biomass Conversion Research Theme with the Institute for Genomic Biology.

He serves as an Assistant Dean, Biobased Research Initiatives in the Office of Research, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. He served as the Interim Head of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois from 200 0 - 2002. He has served as a Professor of Food Microbiology/Biotechnology since 1991 in the same department. His research areas include: Genetic manipulation of microorganisms for biotechnological applications, examination of dry milling co-products as substrates for fermentation to value-added products, development of an integrated fermentation system for solvent production and recovery, pathogen transmission on minimally processed foods.

Hans served for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the Value-Added/Biofuels Panel Manager for NRI Competitive Grants Program from 1994-1995. He has also consulted on Biomass Conversion systems for Dupont and served as a Research Collaborator and Consultant for Mitsubishi Chemical and Research Institute Technology for Earth (RITE), Kyoto, Japan since 1994. He has chaired many sessions for symposia, including the Bio2006, “Adding Value to the Biorefinery: The Midwest Consortium for Sustainable Biobased Products and Energy”, that was held in Chicago, IL. Another symposium he organized was the “UIUC Bioenergy Symposium: Focus on the Future of Biofuels and Chemicals”, which was held in Urbana, IL May, 2006.

Knott portrait

Vijay Singh

Associate Director for Engineering

Vijay Singh joined IBRL in January 2011 as the Associate Director for Engineering. In this role, he will provide leadership to develop industry relationships in anticipation of the IBRL bioprocessing facility and the increasing number of processing-related activities on campus. He will also provide connectivity with industry and collaborate with other institutions and units interested in pilot-scale proof-of-concept activities. He will be developing project-based linkages with industry for cooperative research and development in bioenergy systems. He will be improving the demonstration of integrated bench and/or engineering-scale process technology for the production of substitutes for petroleum-based feedstocks, products and fuels that will improve the economics and efficiency of a biochemical or hybrid conversion processes.

Dr. Singh is also a Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research is on development of bioprocessing technologies for corn/biomass to ethanol, advanced biofuels, food and industrial products. Dr. Singh has authored 160 professional publications and holds ten patents related to bioprocessing and biofuels production. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Food and Bioprocess Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Singh is recipient of several research and teaching awards from professional societies, trade organizations and academic institutions. Professor Singh has served as associate editor for Journal of Cereal Chemistry and Transactions of American Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineers. He is currently associate editor for Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, Food and Bioproducts Processing, and Industrial Biotechnology. Vijay has organized and chaired national and international conferences on biofuels and cereal grains processing for National Academy of Engineering, National Corn Growers Association, American Association of Cereal Chemists International and others.   

Jacobson portrait

Brian Jacobson

Pilot Plant Systems Analyst

Brian Jacobson joined IBRL in February 2012.  He is responsible for managing Pilot Plant facilities and equipment.  Brian graduated with a degree in Technical Systems Management and a minor in Business Administration from the University of Illinois. Previously, Brian was a Quality Control Manager for a manufacturing firm in Chicago. He was responsible for bringing the company’s quality and safety procedures up to ISO 9001:2008 standards.  Brian also works in the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition managing their Pilot Plant facilities.


Ann Jones

Education and Project Coordinator

Ann Jones is the education and project coordinator at IRBL. She earned an Ed.M. in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.A. in Sociology and Religious Studies from North Central College.  Prior to coming to the College of ACES, Ann worked at the College of Education in community college research, and at a private graduate school.