Adam M Guss

Genetic and Metabolic Engineer

Dr. Adam Guss is a Genetic and Metabolic Engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Joint Faculty Assistant Professor in the Bredesen Center at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Dr. Guss received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign in the Department of Microbiology studying the electron transport pathways used by members of the Archaea to produce methane. He was a Microbial Sciences Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University studying the phylogenetic and metabolic diversity of non-cultured and rarely cultured bacteria present in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients. He then worked in Lee Lynd’s research group at Dartmouth College as a Postdoctoral Researcher and Research Scientist as a member of the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC). His work involved improving genetic tools and metabolic engineering of Clostridium thermocellum for production of biofuels from cellulosic biomass.

Dr. Guss’ current research utilizes genetics and synthetic biology to develop genetic tools for non-model microbes and engineer them to convert lignocellulosic biomass, plastics, and other waste into liquid fuels and other value-added products. To this end, the Guss lab engineers diverse organisms, including Clostridium thermocellum, Pseudomonas putida, Cupriavidus necator, Corynebacterium glutamicum, Megasphaera elsdenii, Bacillus coagulans, and others. The Guss lab also collaborates with other labs to help improve genetic tools in their favorite organisms.

Dr. Guss is the Team Lead for Rapid Domestication of Microbes within the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, the co-Lead for the Host Onboarding and Development Team in the Agile BioFoundry, and the ORNL Principle Investigator for the BOTTLE Consortium on plastics up-cycling.



1. Rydzak T and Guss AM. Gene modification in Clostridium for increased alcohol production. U.S. Patent No. 10,179,907 (2018)
2. Lo J, Guss AM, Van Dijken JP, Shaw IV JA, Olson DG, Herring CD. Engineering an Increase in Ethanol Production by Altering Cofactor Specificity. US Patent 20,140,322,783 (2014)
3. Brown S, Guss AM, Yang S, Karpinets T, Lynd LR. Nucleic acid molecules conferring enhanced ethanol tolerance and microorganisms having enhanced tolerance to ethanol United States Patent US20110287499. (2014)
4. Currie DH, McBride J, Guss AM. Modified cipA gene from Clostridium thermocellum for enhanced genetic stability. US Patent App. 13/265,107, 2010 (2012)