Syed Shams Yazdani

Group Leader,
Microbial Engineering
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
ICGEB Campus
Aruna Asaf Ali Marg
110 067 New Delhi, India
E-mail: [email protected] 
Tel: +91-11-26742357 ext 460

DBT-ICGEB Advanced Energy Research


Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, PhD (Biotechnology), 2000
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, MSc (Biotechnology), 1994
Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India, BSc (Hons) Chemistry, 1992

Career History

Since 2015, Group Leader, Microbial Engineering Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) New Delhi, India
Since 2012, Coordinator, DBT-ICGEB Advanced Bioenergy Research, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, India 
2011-2015, Group Leader, Synthetic Biology and Biofuel Group, ICGEB, New Delhi
2007-2008, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University, Houston, USA
2003-2010, Staff Research Scientist, Malaria Group, ICGEB, New Delhi
1999-2003, Research Scientist, Malaria Group, ICGEB, New Delhi

Teaching Activity

Tutoring activities in the ICGEB PhD programme
Since 2016 – Teaching ‘Microbial Genome Editing and Engineering’ as part of ‘Synthetic and Systems Biology’ Course
Since 2011 – Teaching ‘Large-Scale production and Purification of Gene Products’ as part of ‘Gene Cloning and Expression’ Course
2005-2009 – Taught ‘Metabolic Engineering’ as part of ‘Cellular and Molecular Biology’ Course.

Scientific Activity

Recent interest towards shifting to non-food-based feedstock for biofuel production, in addition to biomass burning issue, has resulted in exploiting agricultural residues as feedstock. However, recalcitrant nature of this biomass makes it extremely difficult to hydrolyze into fermentable sugar. The filamentous fungi are found to be efficient in carbon cycling in nature, and thus are treated as potential sources of enzymes for converting recalcitrant lignocellulosic biomass into precursors for industrial purpose. We use intense mathematical model based screen to identify fungal isolates whose secretome can degrade biomass more efficiently than commercial cellulase formulation. Several enzymes have been characterized and among them cellobiohydrolases of the glycoside hydrolase family 7 (CBH1), was found to be the most important cellulolytic enzymes for crystalline cellulose breakdown. CBH1 of a new fungal isolate exhibited 6-fold higher catalytic efficiency as well as a 26-fold higher enzyme-inhibitor complex equilibrium dissociation constant (Ki) than the one from Trichoderma reesei. We have performed genome engineering of the new fungal isolate to disrupt its catabolite repressor and overexpress the cellulase gene activator to enhance the enzyme production by several folds. Many leads have been obtained to understand the role of several unannotated transcription factors involved in the cellulase production via transcriptomic and proteomic studies, which are being valorized to construct superior biocatalyst. 

Lignocellulosic biomass consists of ~30% of pentose sugars, and therefore its effective fermentation will certainly have a positive impact on the economy of biofuel production. The traditional yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is unable to ferment pentose sugars into ethanol. E. coli is a robust host for various genetic manipulations and can readily consume both hexose and pentose sugars. However, availability of limited reducing equivalence and generation of competing co-products undermine ethanol yield and productivity in this microbe. In our lab, we have constructed an E. coli strain to produce high yield of ethanol from hexose and pentose sugars by modulating endogenous pathway without the need of foreign genes. We further worked towards formation of more energy dense fuel molecules, such as butanol, hexanol, pentadecane and hexadecene. Butanol was made in E. coli by integrating Clostridial pathway in its genome via CRISPR/Cas9 technique. On the other hand, long chain alkanes and alcohols are being made via metabolic model-assisted engineering of E. coli, with the highest titers reported so far.

See related news item on research concerning Biofuels

Selected publications

Yazdani SS on PubMed

Syed Shams Yazdani on GoogleScholar

Shakeel T, Gupta M, Fatma Z, Kumar R, Kumar R, Singh R, Sharma M, Jade D, Gupta D, Fatma T, Yazdani SS. A consensus-guided approach yields a heat-stable alkane-producing enzyme and identifies residues promoting thermostability. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2018; 293(24):9148-9161.

Fatma Z, Hartman H, Poolman M, Fell D, Srivastava S, Shakeel T, Yazdani SS. Model-assisted metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli for long chain alkane and alcohol production. Metabolic Engineering 2018; 46:1-12.

Ogunmolu FE, Kaur I, Pasari N, Gupta M, Yazdani SS. Quantitative multiplexed profiling of Penicillium funiculosum secretome grown on polymeric cellulase inducers and glucose. J Proteomics 2018;179:150-160.

Randhawa A, Ogunyewo OA, Eqbal D, Gupta M, Yazdani SS. Disruption of zinc finger DNA binding domain in catabolite repressor Mig1 increases growth rate, hyphal branching, and cellulase expression in hypercellulolytic fungus Penicillium funiculosum NCIM1228. Biotechnology for Biofuels 2018 11:15. DOI 10.1186/s13068-018-1011-5.

Jilani SB, Venigalla SSK, Mattam AJ, Dev C, Yazdani SS. Improvement in ethanolproductivity of engineered E. coli strain SSY13 in defined medium via adaptiveevolution. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2017; 4: 1375-1384.

Pasari N, Adlakha N, Gupta M, Bashir Z, Rajacharya GH, Verma G, Munde M,Bhatnagar R, Yazdani SS. Impact of Module-X2 and Carbohydrate Binding Module-3 onthe catalytic activity of associated glycoside hydrolases towards plant biomass. Sci Rep. 2017 Jun 16;7(1):3700.

Ogunmolu FE, Jagadeesha NBK, Kumar R, Kumar P, Gupta D, Yazdani SS. Comparative insights into the saccharification potentials of a relatively unexplored but robust Penicillium funiculosum glycoside hydrolase 7 cellobiohydrolase. Biotechnol Biofuels 2017;10:71. DOI 10.1186/s13068-017-0752-x.

McIntosh, S., Palmer, J., Zhang, Z., Doherty, W.O.S., Yazdani, S.S., Sukumaran, R.K., Vancov, T. Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation of Pretreated Eucalyptus grandis Under High Solids Loading. Industrial Biotechnol 2017; 13:131-140

Toghueo RMK, Ejiya IE, Sahal D, Yazdani SS and Boyom FF. Production of Cellulolytic Enzymes by Endophytic Fungi Isolated from Cameroonian Medicinal Plants. Int J Curr Microbiol App Sci. 2017; 6(2): 1264-1271.

Jawed K, Mattam AJ, Fatma Z, Wajid S, Abdin MZ, Yazdani SS. EngineeredProduction of Short Chain Fatty Acid in Escherichia coli Using Fatty AcidSynthesis Pathway. PLoS One. 2016; 11(7):e0160035.

Fatma Z, Jawed K, Mattam AJ, Yazdani SS. Identification of long chain specificaldehyde reductase and its use in enhanced fatty alcohol production in E. coli. Metab Eng. 2016;37:35-45.

Sharma S, Yazdani SS. Diversity in Microbial Cellulase System. New and Future Developments in Microbial Biotechnology and Bioenergy. Edited by Vijai Kumar Gupta. Elsevier Publication. 2016; Pp. 49-64.

Singh, R., Mattam, A.J., Jutur, P.P., Yazdani, S.S. Synthetic Biology in Biofuels Production. Advances in Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine: Synthetic Biology. Edited by R.A. Meyers. 2016; Vol. II Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co., pp. 665-698.

Adlakha N, Pfau T, Ebenhöh O, Yazdani SS. Insight into metabolic pathways of the potential biofuel producer, Paenibacillus polymyxa ICGEB2008. Biotechnol Biofuels. 2015;8:159.

Ogunmolu FE, Kaur I, Gupta M, Bashir Z, Pasari N, Yazdani SS. Proteomics Insights into the Biomass Hydrolysis Potentials of a Hypercellulolytic Fungus Penicillium funiculosum. J Proteome Res. 2015;14(10):4342-58.

Munjal N, Jawed K, Wajid S, Yazdani SS. A constitutive expression system for cellulase secretion in Escherichia coli and its use in bioethanol production. PLoS One. 2015;10(3):e0119917.

Chitnis, C.E., Mukherjee, P., Mehta, S., Yazdani, S.S., Dhawan, S., Shakri, A.R., Bharadwaj, R., Gupta, P.K., Hans, D., Mazumdar, S., Singh, B., Kumar, S., Pandey, G., Parulekar, V., Imbault, N., Shivyogi, P., Godbole, G., Mohan, K., Leroy, O., Singh, K., Chauhan, V.S. Phase I Clinical Trial of a Recombinant Blood Stage Vaccine Candidate for Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Based on MSP1 and EBA175. PLoS One. 2015;10(4):e0117820

Shakeel T, Fatma Z, Fatma T, Yazdani SS. Heterogeneity of alkane chain length in freshwater and marine cyanobacteria. Front Bioeng Biotechnol 2015;16, 3-34.

Adlakha N, Yazdani SS. Efficient production of (R,R)-2,3-butanediol fromcellulosic hydrolysate using Paenibacillus polymyxa ICGEB2008. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2015; 42, 21-8.

Bashir Z, Kondapalli VK, Adlakha N, Sharma A, Bhatnagar RK, Chandel G, Yazdani SS. Diversity and functional significance of cellulolytic microbes living in termite, pill-bug and stem-borer guts. Sci Rep. 2013;3:2558.

Mattam, A., Clomburg, J., Gonzalez, R., Yazdani, SS. Fermentation of glycerol and production of valuable chemical and biofuel molecules. Biotechnology Letters 2013;35, 831-842.

Gupta S, Adlakha N, Yazdani SS. Efficient extracellular secretion of an endoglucanase and a β-glucosidase in E. coli. Protein Expr Purif. 2013;88(1):20-5.

Garg S, Agarwal S, Kumar S, Yazdani SS*, Chitnis CE*, Singh S*. Calcium-dependent permeabilization of erythrocytes by a perforin-like protein during egress of malaria parasites. Nature Communication 2013;4:1736. (*Equal contribution.)

Adlakha N, Kushwaha HR, Rajagopal R, Yazdani SS. Draft genome sequence of the Paenibacillus sp. strain ICGEB2008 (MTCC 5639) isolated from the gut of Helicoverpa armigera. Genome announcements 2013; 1, e00026-12.

Ahmad I, Fatma Z, Yazdani SS, Kumar S. DNA barcode and lipid analysis of new marine algae potential for biofuel. Algal Research 2013; 2, 10-15.

Adlakha N, Sawant S, Anil A, Lali A, Yazdani SS. Specific fusion of β-1,4- endoglucanase and β-1,4- glucosidase enhances the cellulolytic activity and helps in channeling of the intermediates. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012; 78:7447-7454.

Munjal N, Mattam AJ, Pramanik D, Srivastava PS, Yazdani SS. Modulation of endogenous pathways enhances bioethanol yield and productivity in Escherichia coli. Microbial Cell Factory 2012;11:145.

Adlakha N, Rajagopal R, Kumar S, Reddy VS, Yazdani SS. Synthesis and characterization of chimeric proteins based on cellulase and xylanase from an insect gut bacterium. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011;77(14):4859-66.

Yazdani SS, Mattam AJ, Gonzalez, R. (2010). Fuel and chemical production from glycerol, a biodiesel waste product. In: “Biofuels from Agricultural Wastes and Byproducts”. Blaschek H., Ezeji T., and Scheffran, J. (Eds.). Blackwell Publishing, Ames, IA.

Mazumdar S, Sachdeva S, Chauhan VS, Yazdani SS. Identification of cultivation condition to produce correctly folded form of a malaria vaccine based on Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein-1 in Escherichia coli. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng. 2009 Nov 18. [Epub ahead of print].

Moreno A, Caro-Aguilar I, Yazdani SS, Shakri AR, Lapp S, Strobert E, McClure H, Chitnis CE, Galinski MR. Preclinical assessment of the receptor-binding domain of Plasmodium vivax Duffy-binding protein as a vaccine candidate in rhesus macaques. Vaccine. 2008;26(34):4338-44.

Shams Yazdani S, Gonzalez R. Engineering Escherichia coli for the efficient conversion of glycerol to ethanol and co-products. Metab Eng. 2008;10(6):340-51.

Gonzalez R, Murarka A, Dharmadi Y, Yazdani SS. A new model for the anaerobic fermentation of glycerol in enteric bacteria: trunk and auxiliary pathways in Escherichia coli. Metab Eng. 2008;10(5):234-45.

Murarka A, Dharmadi Y, Yazdani SS, Gonzalez R. Fermentative utilization of glycerol by Escherichia coli and its implications for the production of fuels and chemicals. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Feb;74(4):1124-35.

Barbedo MB, Ricci R, Jimenez MC, Cunha MG, Yazdani SS, Chitnis CE, Rodrigues MM, Soares IS. Comparative recognition by human IgG antibodies of recombinant proteins representing three asexual erythrocytic stage vaccine candidates of Plasmodium vivax. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2007;102(3):335-9.

Devi YS, Mukherjee P, Yazdani SS, Shakri AR, Mazumdar S, Pandey S, Chitnis CE, Chauhan VS. Immunogenicity of Plasmodium vivax combination subunit vaccine formulated with human compatible adjuvants in mice. Vaccine. 2007;25(28):5166-74.

Yazdani SS, Gonzalez R. Anaerobic fermentation of glycerol: a path to economic viability for the biofuels industry. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2007;18(3):213-9.

 Bir N, Yazdani SS, Avril M, Layez C, Gysin J, Chitnis CE. Immunogenicity of Duffy binding-like domains that bind chondroitin sulfate A and protection against pregnancy-associated malaria. Infect Immun. 2006;74(10):5955-63.

Yazdani SS, Shakri AR, Pattnaik P, Rizvi MM, Chitnis CE. Improvement in yield and purity of a recombinant malaria vaccine candidate based on the receptor-binding domain of Plasmodium vivax Duffy binding protein by codon optimization. Biotechnol Lett. 2006;28(14):1109-14.

Yazdani SS, Mukherjee P, Chauhan VS, Chitnis CE. Immune responses to asexual blood-stages of malaria parasites. Curr Mol Med. 2006;6(2):187-203.

Herrera S, Gómez A, Vera O, Vergara J, Valderrama-Aguirre A, Maestre A, Méndez F, Wang R, Chitnis CE, Yazdani SS, Arévalo-Herrera M. Antibody response to Plasmodium vivax antigens in Fy-negative individuals from the Colombian Pacific coast. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2005;73(5 Suppl):44-9.

Arévalo-Herrera M, Castellanos A, Yazdani SS, Shakri AR, Chitnis CE, Dominik R, Herrera S. Immunogenicity and protective efficacy of recombinant vaccine based on the receptor-binding domain of the Plasmodium vivax Duffy binding protein in Aotus monkeys. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2005;73(5 Suppl):25-31.

Tran TM, Oliveira-Ferreira J, Moreno A, Santos F, Yazdani SS, Chitnis CE, Altman JD, Meyer EV, Barnwell JW, Galinski MR. Comparison of IgG reactivities to Plasmodium vivax merozoite invasion antigens in a Brazilian Amazon population. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2005;73(2):244-55.

Hans D, Pattnaik P, Bhattacharyya A, Shakri AR, Yazdani SS, Sharma M, Choe H, Farzan M, Chitnis CE. Mapping binding residues in the Plasmodium vivax domain that binds Duffy antigen during red cell invasion. Mol Microbiol. 2005;55(5):1423-34.

Yazdani SS, Shakri AR, Chitnis CE. A high cell density fermentation strategy to produce recombinant malarial antigen in E. coli. Biotechnol Lett. 2004;26(24):1891-5.

Tran TM, Moreno A, Yazdani SS, Chitnis CE, Barnwell JW, Galinski MR. Detection of a Plasmodium vivax erythrocyte binding protein by flow cytometry. Cytometry A. 2005;63(1):59-66.

Yazdani SS, Shakri AR, Mukherjee P, Baniwal SK, Chitnis CE. Evaluation of immune responses elicited in mice against a recombinant malaria vaccine based on Plasmodium vivax Duffy binding protein. Vaccine. 2004;22(27-28):3727-37.

Singh SK, Singh AP, Pandey S, Yazdani SS, Chitnis CE, Sharma A. Definition of structural elements in Plasmodium vivax and P. knowlesi Duffy-binding domains necessary for erythrocyte invasion. Biochem J. 2003;374(Pt 1):193-8.

Xainli J, Cole-Tobian JL, Baisor M, Kastens W, Bockarie M, Yazdani SS, Chitnis CE, Adams JH, King CL. Epitope-specific humoral immunity to Plasmodium vivax Duffy binding protein. Infect Immun. 2003;71(5):2508-15.

Yazdani SS and Mukherjee KJ. Continuous-culture studies on the stability and expression of recombinant streptokinase in Escherichia coli. Bioprocess and Biosystem Engineering. 2002;24:341-346.

Singh S, Pandey K, Chattopadhayay R, Yazdani SS, Lynn A, Bharadwaj A, Ranjan A, Chitnis C. Biochemical, biophysical, and functional characterization of bacterially expressed and refolded receptor binding domain of Plasmodium vivax duffy-binding protein. J Biol Chem. 2001;276(20):17111-6.

Yazdani SS, Mukherjee KJ. Over-expression of streptokinase using a fed-batch strategy. Biotechnol Lett. 1998;20 (10):923–27.