Charles A. Abbas

Charles AbbasCharles Abbas is Director of Yeast and Renewable Research at Archer Daniels Midland. He oversees research into the bioprocessing of commodity crops and their residues to produce high value-added products as well as the development of yeast strains for large-scale industrial fermentations.

He has spent 25 years working in industry, first as a Senior Scientist in Industrial Microbiology at Difco R & D in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and since 1991 as Group Leader, Manager, and most recently Director at ADM Research and Development.

In addition to working at ADM, Charles has maintained ties with academic programs. He holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he oversaw a joint research project with ADM. He is also an adjunct Professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus, where he is also a member of that departmentís advisory board.

Previously at the University of Illinois, Charles was an adjunct Professor with the Department of Animal Sciences, where he oversaw several joint research projects with ADM, and an affiliate to the renewables theme at the Institute of Genomics Biology. He also served for over six years as a representative of college-wide departmental research to the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

At the International Congress on Yeasts (ICY) held in Kyiv, Ukraine, in August 2008, Charles was elected as the new commissioner representing the United States. At the ISSY 28 meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, September 2010, Charles was also elected as Chair of the U.S. Organizing Committee of the ICY 2012 meeting being held in Madison, Wisconsin, August 26-31, 2012. In this role, Charles serves as the only industry representative to the Commission among leaders in the research on yeasts.

Charles received the Alltech Medal of Excellence for Alcohol Production in 2001. He served in 2005 as Division O Chairman for Fermentation and Biotechnology of the American Society for Microbiology. He has given numerous talks at national and international meetings and has chaired sessions on topics including yeast biotechnological applications, emerging biorefineries, food security, and system biology. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 publications, several review articles and book chapters, over 100 scientific abstracts, and over 30 patents and patent applications.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota, the Master of Science in Microbiology from the University of Montana, and the Ph.D. in Microbiology and Cell Science with Biochemistry as a supporting area from the University of Florida. His undergraduate and graduate training emphasized the industrial application of a wide range of enzymes and microbial systems in fermentations.