Dr. Thomas West
Dr. Thomas West
Professor and Head
STC 318A or STC 302

Professional Vita (PDF)



My laboratory is exploring the conversion of biomass into specialty chemicals. This involves the bioconversion of plant biomass such as corn distillers’ grains and prairie cordgrass into fermentable substrates. My laboratory is examining the hydrolysis  of plant biomass into fermentable sugars and amino acids that can be converted by fungi to the specialty chemicals citric acid, malic acid and fumaric acid. The hydrolysis of grass can also result in a high concentration of xylose being released that can be converted by yeast to xylitol (a sugar substitute). Raw glycerol from soy biodiesel production can be microbially converted to citric acid or industrially-important aldehydes.


My laboratory is also interested in examining the regulation of enzymes involved in pyrimidine metabolism from species of Pseudomonas and taxonomically-related bacteria. My laboratory has shown that pyrimidine biosynthesis and pyrimidine base catabolism are regulated at the level of enzyme synthesis in species of Pseudomonas and the related species Burholderia cepacia. The pattern of pyrimidine biosynthesis regulation in pseudomonads could help in the taxonomic assignment of Pseudomonas species. My laboratory has also investigated the regulation of aspartate transcarbamoylase by nucleotides in pseudomonads


B.S., 1974 (Biological Sciences) Purdue University
M.S., 1976, (Biochemistry) Texas A&M University
Ph.D., 1980 (Biochemistry) Texas A&M University
Research Associate, 1980 (Microbiology) Michigan State University
Research Associate, 1981 (Molecular Microbiology) University of Arizona
Postdoctoral Fellow, 1982 (Chemistry) Boston College


Assistant Professor in the Departments of Microbiology and Biological Sciences,  University of Southern Mississippi, 1983-1987
Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, South Dakota State University, 1988-1993
Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, South Dakota State University, 1993-2004
Professor in the Department of Biology and Microbiology, South Dakota State University, 2005-2015
Professor and Head in the Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University-Commerce, August 2015-present


Journal Editorial Boards: Biotechnology Letters, Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology, Journal of Bacteriology & Parasitology, International Journal of Microbiology & Advanced Immunology, American Chemical Science Journal, American Journal of Analytical Chemistry, Journal of Biochemistry & Physiology, Enliven: Microbes and Microbial Techniques, Journal of Bacteriology and Mycology; Ad Hoc Reviewer for 52 journals.

Ad Hoc Reviewer for Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Science Foundation Ireland, Research Corporation, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, U.S. Department of Agriculture Competitive Grants Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture SBIR Grants Program.

Program Panelist: National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program, National Science Foundation EPSCoR Reverse Site Visit Panel.


CHEM 314, General Biochemistry, 3 credits

CHEM 414-414L, Biochemistry, 4 credits

CHEM 514, Biochemistry, 3 credits

CHEM 597, Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 3 credits


West, T. P. 2016. A Candida guilliermondii lysine hyperproducer capable of elevated citric acid production. World J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 32:73 (5 pages).

West, T. P. 2016. Effect of nitrogen source concentration on curdlan production by Agrobacterium sp. ATCC 31749 grown on prairie cordgrass hydrolysates. Prep. Biochem. Biotechnol. 46:85-90.

West, T. P. 2015. Fungal biotransformation of crude glycerol into malic acid. Z. Naturforsch. C 70:165-167.

West, T. P. 2015. The biochemistry of pyrimidine base catabolism: Why understanding the cellular recycling of pyrimidine bases is Important. Biochem. Physiol. 4:1000e135.

West, T. P.  2014.  Pyrimidine nucleotide synthesis in Pseudomonas nitroreducens and the regulatory role of pyrimidines. Microbiol. Res. 169:954-958.

West, T. P.  2014.  Effect of phytase treatment on phosphate availability in the potential food supplement corn distillers’ grains with solubles. Journal of Food Processing 2014, Article ID 641959, 5 pages.

Geiger, M. R., W. R. Gibbons and T. P. West. 2014. A thermostable Candida molischiana mutant capable of ethanol production at elevated temperatures. J. Pure Appl. Microbiol. 8:1743-1748.

West, T. P. and J. L. Peterson. 2014. Production of the polysaccharide curdlan by an Agrobacterium strain grown on a plant biomass hydrolysate. Can. J. Microbiol. 60:53-56.

West, T. P. and J. L. Peterson.  2014. Elevated 3-hydroxypropionaldehyde production from glycerol using a Citrobacter freundii mutant. Biotechnol. Lett. 36:147-151.