The R. Malcolm Brown Jr. Laboratory

 for Cellulose and Biofuels Research*


  R. Malcolm Brown, Jr. and  David R. Nobles, Jr. 

Click HERE for a link to our first paper on the discovery of cellulose biosynthesis in the cyanobacteria

Click HERE for the UT April 23 newstory that opened our cyanobacterial research to the world.

Important Links
Department of Molecular Biosciences
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Texas at Austin
The University Directory



Changes are in the wind!

The Story

Welcome to a newly designed, revised, and updated webpage from the R. Malcolm Brown, Jr. Laboratory. First, you will note a change in the naming of our laboratory. Because of many past years of successful research in cellulose, and bringing with it the future of cellulose and saccharides in generating the world's feedstocks for biofuels, fertilizers, food, construction materials, and specialty products, we have decided to rename our laboratory! This laboratory will continue a number of flourishing projects in the areas of atomic and molecular imaging and electronic paper, but it will now focus on cellulose biosynthesis, cellulose structure, saccharides, feedstocks, biomass, and biofuels. We believe that we are uniquely equipped to expand upon  many years of expertise in cellulose-based research and apply this knowledge to the  truly urgent needs for our planet. Who would have believed ten years ago that cellulose would be playing such an important role in biofuels development!

Combining RM Brown's extensive experience with algae, cyanobacteria, and cellulose , we plan to develop and build one of the world's most innovative research and development labs to bring the fruits of this research to help reduce global climate change, to feed a needy world, and to develop a sustainable energy source for everyone. We subscribe  to the Trieste  Declaration of Human Duties. One of the key provisions of this Declaration is to avoid energy waste and work for reduction of the use of fossil fuels and to promote the use of inexhaustible energy sources, representing a minimum of environmental and health risks. Toward this goal, we believe that photosynthetic microbes, particularly the prokaryotic "cyanobacteria" (sometimes described as "blue-green algae") will be the future workhorses for sustainable production of biomass.  Cellulose is the most abundant macromolecule on earth with some 1011 tons of biomass produced each year on the planet. With this almost incomprehensible quantity of matter made by photosynthesis from carbon dioxide fixation, cellulose simply cannot be ignored as a major player for our sustainable energy future.


 A background of accomplishments in the field of cellulose biosynthesis, structure, and molecular biology including:

the first imaging of  a cellulose synthase in 1976 in collaboration with David Montezinos(click here for a reprint)

the first sequencing and cloning of a cellulose synthase gene in 1990 in collaboration with Dr. Inder Saxena (click here for a reprint)

the description of a new form of cellulose, nematic ordered cellulose in 2001 with Dr. Tetsuo Kondo (click here for a reprint)

  elucidation of the steps of cellulose crystallization in collaboration with Dr. Susan Cousins in 1997 (click here for a reprint)

  transfer of the cellulose synthase complex from Acetobacter xylinum to a cyanobacterium in 2008 (click here for a reprint)


We are now prepared to research the best possible strains of photosynthetic microbes that will become the top prospects for massive scaleup leading to the engineering of sustainable feedstocks for biofuels. To learn more about our goals, please send an email to: to obtain  our White Paper entitled

click on icon above for a brief excerpt of the White Paper

The Future of Biofuels in Renewable Energy and Reduction of Global Warming

Stay tuned and follow our progress!

Links on Algae,  Organizations, Databases, Companies and their relationship to biofuels


Here are several recent news story links and video interviews:


 The Original UT News Story on Cyanobacteria as new sources for biofuel feedstocks April 23, 2008


Video Interview in May, 2008 by UT-Austin- this video explains in about 4 minutes the major goals of our intended research with cyanobacteria



Video Interview in May, 2008 by Austin TV station KXAN


Visit HERE to view the Professional Highlights of RMB's Career

Hot News and Features from the R. M. Brown Jr. Lab

This link will change frequently so stay tuned!
A new challenge using cyanobacteria as feedstocks for sustainable biofuels!
Click  HERE to take an algal collecting trip to Utah!

Here is the MAJOR DIRECTORY for the R.M. BROWN, JR. LAB



 Email Contacts-Personnel in the R. M. Brown, Jr. Laboratory



RMB Publication List(1962-2008)



Professor Brown's Bio 323L/Bot 393L Class Pages



Movies and 3-D Imaging Projects From The Brown Lab



The NANO Page!

 (Exciting research using the TEM at atomic and molecular levels of resolution)



Seminal Presentations from the RM Brown Jr Lab







 Projects from the RM Brown Jr. Laboratory



Professor Brown's Personal Homepage


Information On RMB Lab Group Members 

  (Includes  section on past lab associates.)


Research Support Acknowledgements


Photo Tour of the RMB Lab

  (Take a walk through Painter Hall!)








Panoramic view of our light microscope facility. Left to right: Leitz micromanipulation station; Optronix and Panasonic video station; Zeiss Universal microscope; Dell Computer station with IP Plus and KS-400 software; Zeiss stereoscopic binocular microscope station; Zeiss inverted microscope station; Zeiss Photomicroscope set up with Jamin Lebedef interference optics; Pixera video station and computer monitor. All microscopes on condition power supplies. HEPA filters, and individual lighting controls at each microscope console unit. As many as 5 researchers can use this facility simultaneously. All major Zeiss optics for microscopy are available.

 Comments? We would like to hear from you!   Email Here!

The background of this page is a cellulosic scale synthesized in the Golgi apparatus of the marine alga, Pleurochysis scherfelii (Photo- courtesy Dr. Dwight Romanovicz)


Updated June 16, 2008  by R. Malcolm Brown, Jr.