Khalid Algharrawi, doctoral candidate in chemical and biochemical engineering, has received the 2016 University of Iowa Research Foundation Inventor Award for his research project on “Methods for Production of 7-methylxanthne from Caffeine and Theobromine via Metabolic Engineering of Escherichia coli Strain BL21 (DE3).”
The intellectual property has been optioned to V. B. Medicare Private Limited (Bioplus) by the UI Research Foundation.
Algharrawi received an MS degree in chemical engineering from the University of Baghdad, Iraq in 2005. He was then appointed as an assisting lecturer at the Chemical Engineering department of the University of Baghdad from 2005 and continued till 2010 in which he was awarded a scholarship from the Iraqi Prime Minister Office through the Higher Committee of Educational Development in Iraq to pursue a Ph. D. degree in chemical and biochemical engineering at the UI.
His research focuses on developing a novel bio-process to produce methylxanthines from economical feed-stocks catalyzed by metabolically engineered E. coli. Currently, methylxanthines are produced only by chemical methods which are complicated, expensive and not favorable by the environment. The process he is developing is using economical feed-stocks such as caffeine and being carried out by one single N-demethylation reaction at room temperature. Moreover, the bio-process is environmentally friendly.