Scott Banta


820 Mudd
Mail Code 4721

Tel(212) 854-7531
Fax(212) 854-3054

Scott Banta’s research focuses on applying protein engineering, metabolic engineering, and synthetic biology tools to solve a variety of important problems in bioengineering. 

Research Interests

Protein engineering, metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, biotechnology.

Protein engineering involves the modification of proteins and peptides in order to produce new molecules with novel traits or functions. Metabolic engineering refers to the characterization and improvement of networks of enzymes to obtain desired new goals. And research in Synthetic Biology aims to design and create non-natural biological systems. These pursuits can be used to bring about new solutions to problems in biotechnology, nanotechnology, biomedical engineering, bioprocess engineering, environmental applications, and bioenergy research.

Research in the Banta Lab has several areas of focus. The lab has been engineering a unique beta-roll peptide sequence that can transition from an unfolded-state to a folded-state upon addition of calcium. This leads to a variety of useful applications including protein hydrogel formation, protein purification, and more recently, biomolecular recognition. In another protein engineering project, his group has engineered just about every aspect of a thermostable alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme including, cofactor specificity, substrate specificity, activity with non-natural cofactors, self-assembly, and binding of non-natural molecules. His lab also works on the development of new protein/protein and protein/nanomaterial interactions for multi-modal and multi-step catalytic processes, with the goal of engineering substrate channeling between active sites. He has an ongoing interest in developing strategies to create biochemicals from CO2 using renewable electricity (electrofuels) or from industrial process streams. He recently started a company, Ironic Chemicals LLC, with Professor Alan West in chemical engineering to create biofuels using copper mining waste.   

Banta began teaching at Columbia Engineering in 2004. Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral researcher at The Center for Engineering in Medicine at the Shriners and Massachusetts General Hospitals and Harvard Medical School. He earned a BSE in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 1997, and a MS and PhD in chemical engineering from Rutgers University in 2000 and 2002, respectively. 


  • Harvard Medical School; Center for Engineering in Medicine; Shriners Hospital for Children;  Massachusetts General Hospital, 2002-2004


  • Professor, Chemical Engineering, Columbia Engineering, 2015-
  • Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering, Columbia University, 2009-2015
  • Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering, Columbia University, 2004-2009


  • Long Range Program Coordinator, Biochemical Technology (BIOT) Division of the American Chemical Society
  • Associate Editor, Biochemical Engineering Journal
  • Consulting Editorial Board, AIChE Journal


  • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), 2016 
  • James M. Van Lanen Distinguished Service Award, Biochemical Technology (BIOT) Division of the American Chemical Society, 2016
  • James D. Watson Investigator Program Award, New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR), 2005   


  • Banerjee, I., Burrell, B., Reed, C., West, A.C., and Banta, S. (2017) “Metals and minerals as a biotechnology feedstock: Engineering biomining microbiology for bioenergy applications” Current Opinion in Biotechnology (Energy Biotechnology Issue) 45 144-157.
  • Wheeldon, I.R., Minteer, S.D., Banta, S., Calabrese Barton, S., Atanassov, P., and Sigman, M. (2016) “Substrate channeling as an approach to cascade reactions” Nature Chemistry 8(4) 299-309.
  • Bulutoglu, B., Garcia, K.E., Wu, F., Minteer, S.D., and Banta, S. (2016) “Direct evidence for metabolon formation and substrate channeling in recombinant TCA cycle enzymes” ACS Chemical Biology 11(10) 2847–2853.
  • Garcia, K., Babanova, S., Sheffler, W., Hans, M., Baker, D., Atanassov, P., and Banta, S. (2016) “Designed Protein Aggregates Entrapping Carbon Nanotubes for Bioelectrochemical Oxygen Reduction” Biotechnology and Bioengineering 113(11) 2321-2327.
  • Kernan, T., Majumdar, S., Li, X., Guan, J., West, A.C., and Banta, S. (2016) “Engineering the iron-oxidizing chemolithoautotroph Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans for biochemical production” Biotechnology and Bioengineering 113(1) 189-197.
  • Patel, T.N., Park, A-H.A. and Banta, S. (2014) “Genetic manipulation of outer membrane permeability: Generating porous heterogeneous catalyst analogs in Escherichia coli” ACS Synthetic Biology 3(12) 848-854.
  • Dooley, K., Bulutoglu, B. and Banta, S. (2014) “Doubling the cross-linking interface of a rationally-designed beta roll peptide for calcium-dependent proteinaceous hydrogel formation” Biomacromolecules 15(10) 3617-3624.
  • Shur, O., Dooley, K. Blenner, M., Baltimore, M., and Banta, S. (2013) “A designed, phase changing RTX-based peptide for efficient bioseparations” BioTechniques 54(4) 197-206.
  • Campbell, E., Chuang, S., and Banta, S. (2013) “Modular exchange of substrate-binding loops alters both substrate and cofactor specificity in a member of the aldo-keto reductase superfamily” Protein Engineering, Design and Selection 26(3) 181-186.
  • Kim, Y.H., Campbell, E., Yu, J., Minteer, S.D., and Banta, S. (2013) “Complete oxidation of methanol in biobattery devices using a hydrogel created from three modified dehydrogenases” Angewandte Chemie International Edition 52(5) 1437-1440.