Professor Foston’s research program seeks to develop innovative and novel routes to exploit and utilize lignocellulosic biomass, taking advantage of materials involved in industries such as agriculture, papermaking, and forestry products. His primary research themes are:
- Sustainable conversion of biomass into chemicals using liquid-phase, heterogeneous catalysis.
- Interfacing the catalytic depolymerization of biomass with microbial utilization.
- Understanding how plant cell respond to mechanical stimulus
He is also faculty fellow in the NSF STC: Center for Engineering Mechanobiology. The center will train a new generation of scientists and engineers in the emerging discipline of Mechanobiology, specifically how to use mechanical force to engineer plant cell walls and how plant cell wall respond to mechanical force.
In 2012, Marcus Foston became a professor in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his PhD in Polymer Chemistry in the Material Science and Engineering Department at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. His postdoctoral fellowship was conducted as part of the DOE BioEnergy Science Center and under the guidance of Dr. Arthur Ragauskas, a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Alternative Energy, in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Institute of Technology. During this period, his research focused on the study of the chemistry, dynamics and mechanism of deconstruction of lignocellulose to form biofuels, biomaterials, and biocomposites.