Metabolic Engineering; Heterologous Natural Product Biosynthesis; Vaccine Design and Delivery
Dr. Pfeifer is originally from Colorado and graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering while also obtaining minors in Environmental Engineering and Chemistry and completing an interdisciplinary program in Biotechnology. He completed M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University under the guidance of Chaitan Khosla with graduate research dedicated to the biosynthesis of therapeutic natural products (such as antibiotics and anti-cancer agents). Postdoctoral research was completed under the tutelage of Robert Langer at MIT focused on gene delivery to the sentinel cells (antigen presenting cells) of the immune system with the goal of enabling effective genetic vaccines.
Independent research at the University at Buffalo is organized with cellular and process engineering as a base technology platform to support application-based projects in environmental sustainability, therapeutic compound access, and vaccine design. Interwoven with technical goals is the over-arching emphasis on student development and research translation. Towards the latter goal, students are encouraged to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, and several former trainees have successfully patented and licensed their research; placed in business and research competitions; and initiated and led independent start-up ventures. Outside of the university setting, Dr. Pfeifer enjoys exercise, music, history, and learning foreign languages.