Christopher Brigham, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

christopher brigham
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B.S. Chemical Engineering, Villanova University

Ph.D. Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Tufts University School of Medicine

Professor Christopher Brigham has received multidisciplinary training in both the life sciences and in engineering. The focus of his B.S. work was in mass transfer and distillation. After three years working in industry, Prof. Brigham received his Ph.D. in 2006. His thesis work was focused on the interplay of the human commensal organism/opportunistic pathogen Bacteroides fragilis with the mammalian host. Specifically, he examined sugar utilization and how it affects the commensal and pathogenic lifestyles of B. fragilis. Prof. Brigham then moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a postdoctoral scholar and later a Research Scientist. It was during this time that he developed a passion for biomanufacturing, fermentation and bioprocess engineering. He examined the industrially relevant bacterium Ralstonia eutropha (now known as Cupriavidus necator). R. eutropha is a soil bacterium that is the model organism for polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastic synthesis. He examined the biology of the PHA biosynthetic machinery and gene expression changes throughout PHA homeostasis. Also, he supervised a metabolic engineering project where R. eutropha was converted from a PHA producing organism to an isobutanol biofuel producing organism. Prof. Brigham joins Wentworth Institute of Technology from the Bioengineering Department at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he was an Assistant Professor. At UMass Dartmouth, Prof. Brigham expanded his interests further, examining material properties of biopolymers like PHA and chitin, producing triacylglycerols and biodiesel using the bacterium Rhodococcus opacus, and developing probiotic strains of Escherichia coli that can fight Salmonella and Clostridium infections. Also, Prof. Brigham acted as principal faculty advisor to the UMass Dartmouth iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team. He is looking forward to developing many exciting undergraduate research projects at WIT based on these interests.

Courses taught: ENGR 1500 Introduction to Engineering Design, BIOExxxx Fundamentals of Biological Engineering, BIOExxxx Metabolic Engineering

At Wentworth Institute of Technology, Professor Brigham engages students in research projects focused on biomanufacturing and biotechnology. Specifically, projects involve microbial conversion of waste carbon to value-added products like biofuels and bioplastics. Professor Brigham is a member of American Chemical Society, American Society of Microbiology and American Society of Engineering Education.

In addition to teaching and research, Professor Brigham serves on the Wentworth Faculty Senate and the Biological Engineering ABET and Curriculum Development Committee.

Recent Publications: