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Michael J. Selig, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Chemistry   |   Turock School of Arts and Sciences


Assistant Professor Dr. Michael Selig arrived at Keystone for the Fall of 2018 following 2 years of work as a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. At Cornell his research efforts targeted the development of novel and “natural” functional ingredient technologies aimed at enabling greater transition in the food industry away from many synthetic ingredients often used to serve roles such as emulsifiers, viscoelastic modifiers, gelling agents, stabilizers, encapsulating agents, and colorants. Prior to Cornell, Dr. Selig spent a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Houghton College in rural Western NY.

Dr. Selig earned his PhD in 2015 from the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. In Copenhagen, he worked within a world-renowned group led by Dr. Claus Felby that is focused on developing a strong understanding of lignocelluloses (plant cell walls; grasses, wood) as a resource and conversion processes that can efficiently enable their use in the production of fuels, chemicals and materials. There, Dr. Selig’s studies focused on developing a stronger understanding on the fundamental mechanisms that contribute to the recalcitrant nature of lignocellulosic biomass with respect to processes aimed at their degradation and conversion to useful forms. This work had a strong focus on cell wall polymer interactions, polymer hydration, and the impacts of such on cell wall degrading enzymes, and was a follow-up of 6 years’ prior work as a staff scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO.


  • Post-Doctoral, Department of Food Science, Cornell University
  • PhD, 2015, IGN, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen
  • MSc, 2004, Biological & Environmental Engineering, Cornell University
  • BSc, 2000, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Cornell University


  • Preparatory Chemistry
  • Chemistry II
  • Biochemistry I/II
  • Fermentation
  • Physics II
  • Research Areas: Lignocellulose Conversions, Plant Science, Food Chemistry, Functional Ingredients, Natural Pigments

• Polymer hydration and its implications with respect to the interactions between polysaccharides, proteins, polyphenolics, and smaller soluble biomolecular species (i.e. pigments and small sugars) and the functionality of biological or bioengineered systems.
• Plant based pigments as natural food colorants and bioactive agents and the development of natural stabilization systems that enable more ubiquitous usage throughout the food industry and in other applications.
• The development of naturally derived functional ingredient technologies which can enable the reduction of synthetic ingredients used in many processed foods, as well as more effective stabilization/delivery of key nutritional and bioactive components in food systems.
• Understanding and overcoming the recalcitrance nature of lignocellulosic resources to both enzymatic and thermochemical conversion processes.
• The exploration of novel materials applications for plant based polysaccharides, polyphenolics, and small bioactive molecules (pigments); currently, bioplastic and organo-electronic applications.

Selig MJ, Mehrad B, Zamani H, Kierulf A, Abbaspourrad A (2018) Dispersion of oil solubilized β-carotene in stabilized locust bean gum powders for the delivery of orange colorant to snack products. Accepted in Food Hydrocolloids

Selig MJ, Nabi Dar B, Arkaye Kierulf, Ravanfar R, Rizvi SH, Abbaspourrad A (2018). Modulation of whey protein-kappa carrageenan hydrogel properties via enzymatic protein modification. Accepted in Food & Function in March 2018.

Selig MJ, Celli GB, Tan C, La E*, Mills E*, Webely AD*, Padilla-Zakour O, Abbaspourrad A (2018) High pressure processing of beet extract complexed with anionic polysaccharides enhances red color thermal stability at low pH. Accepted in Food Hydrocolloids January 2018; in press.

Celli GB, Selig MJ, Tan C, Abbaspourrad A. Synergistic Bathochromic and Hyperchromic Shifts of Anthocyanin Spectra Observed Following Complexation with Iron Salts and Chondroitin Sulfate. Food and Bioprocess Technology. 2018 May 1;11(5):991-1001.

Liu Y, Selig MJ, Yadav MP, Yin L, Abbaspourrad A (2018) Transglutaminase-treated conjugation of sodium caseinate and corn fiber gum hydrolysate: Interfacial and dilatational properties. Accepted in Carbohydrate Polymers in January 2018.

Zamani S, Malchione N*, Selig MJ, Abbaspourrad A. (2017) Formation of shelf stable Pickering high internal phase emulsions (HIPE) through inclusion of whey protein microgels. Accepted in Food & Function December 2017

Tan C, Selig MJ, Lee MC, Abbaspourrad A (2018). Polyelectrolyte microcapsules built on CaCO3 scaffolds for the integration, encapsulation, and controlled release of copigmented anthocyanins. Food Chemistry. Apr 25;246:305-12.

Selig MJ, Malchione NM*, Gamaleldin S*, Padilla-Zakour, OI, Abbaspourrad A (2018) Protection of blue color in a spirulina derived phycocyanin extract from proteolytic and thermal degradation via complexation with beet-pectin. Food Hydrocolloids (74):46-52

Eskandarloo H, Selig MJ, Abbaspourrad A (2018) In situ H2O2 Generation for De-Emulsification of Fine Stable Bilge Water Emulsions. Chemical Engineering Journal; Accepted in Chemical Engineering Journal October 2017

Tan C, Selig MJ, Abbaspourrad A (2018) Anthocyanin stabilization by chitosan-chondroitin sulfate polyelectrolyte complexation integrating catechin co-pigmentation. Carbohydrate Polymers; accepted proof online at

Comunian TA, Ravanfar R, Selig MJ, Abbaspourrad A (2017) Influence of the protein type on the stability of fish oil in water emulsion obtained by glass microfluidic device. Food Hydrocolloids; accepted proof online at

Selig MJ, Vuong TV, Gudmundssen M, Westereng B Felby C, Master E (2015) Modified cellobiohydrolase-cellulose interactions following treatment with lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase CelS2 (ScLPMO10C) observed by QCM-D. Cellulose (22):2263-2270

Selig MJ, Felby C, Thygesen LG, Master E (2014) Debranching of soluble wheat arabinoxylan dramatically enhances recalcitrant binding to cellulose. Biotechnology Letters; DOI: 10.1007/s10529-014-1705-0

Selig MJ, Thygesen LG, Felby C (2014) Correlating the ability to constrain water with the inhibition of cellulose saccharification by lignocellulosic polymers. Biotechnology for Biofuels; November 19th, 2004

Selig MJ, Thygesen LG, Johnson DK, Himmel ME, Felby C, Mittal A (2013) The hydration and saccharification of cellulose I, II and III at high dry solids loadings. Biotechnol Letters. DOI: 10.1007/s10529-013-1258-7

Goacher RE, Selig MJ, Master ER (2014) Advancing lignocellulose bioconversion through direct assessment of enzyme action on insoluble substrates. Curr Op Biotechnol 27:123-133

Zhang H, Fengel JU, Selig MJ, Willats GT, Jorgensen H, Felby C (2013) Assessment of leaf/stem ratio in wheat straw feedstock and impact on enzymatic conversion. GCB Bioenergy. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12060

Barsberg S, Selig MJ, Felby C (2013) Impact of lignins isolated from pretreated lignocelluloses on enzymatic cellulose saccharification. Biotechnol Letters 35(62):189-195

Shekiro J, Kuhn EM, Selig MJ, Nagle NJ, Decker SR, Elander RT (2012) Enzymatic Conversion of Xylan Residues from Dilute Acid-Pretreated Corn Stover. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 168(2):421-433

Selig MJ, Hsieh CC, Thygesen L, Himmel ME, Felby C, Decker SR (2012) Considering water availability and the effect of solute concentration on high solids saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass. Biotechnol Prog 28(6):1478-1490

Chylenski P*, Felby C, Haven MO, Gama M, Selig MJ (2012) Precipitation of Trichoderma reesei commercial cellulase preparations under standard enzymatic hydrolysis conditions for lignocelluloses. Biotechnol Letters 35(8):1475-1482

Goldberg RN, Lang BE, Selig MJ, and SR Decker (2011) A calorimetric and equilibrium investigation of the reaction {methyl ferulate(aq) + H2O(1) = methanol(aq) plus ferulic acid(aq). Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics; 43(3): pp. 235-239

Selig MJ, Tucker MP, Law C, Doeppke C, Himmel ME, and SR Decker (2011) High throughput determination of glucan and xylan fractions in lignocelluloses. Biotechnology Letters: DOI – 10.1007/s10529-011-0526-7Online First™

Brunecky R, Selig MJ, Vinzant TB, Himmel ME, Lee D, Blaylock MJ, and SR Decker (2011) In planta expression of A. cellulolyticus Cel5A endocellulase reduces cell wall recalcitrance in tobacco and maize. Biotechnology for Biofuels; 4(1): pp. 1-10

Voelker SL, Lachenbruch B, Meinzer FC, Jourdes M, Ki C, Patten AM, Davin LB, Lewis NG, Tuskan GA, Gunter L, Decker SR, Selig MJ, Kitin P, and SH Strauss (2010) Antisense down-regulation of 4CL expression alters lignification, tree growth and saccharification potential of field-grown poplar. Plant Physiology; 154(2): pp. 874-886

Selig MJ, Tucker MP, Sykes RW, Reichel KL, Brunecky R, Himmel ME, Davis MF, and SR Decker (2010) Lignocellulose recalcitrance screening by integrated high-throughput hydrothermal pretreatment and enzymatic saccharification. Industrial Biotechnology; 6(2); pp. 104-111

Decker SR, Brunecky R, Tucker MP, Himmel ME, and MJ Selig (2009) High-Throughput Screening Techniques for Biomass Conversion. Bioenergy Research; 2; pp. 179-192

Selig MJ, Adney WS, Himmel ME, and SR Decker (2009) The Impact of Cell Wall Acetylation on Corn Stover Hydrolysis by Cellulolytic and Xylanolytic Enzymes. Cellulose; 16; pp. 711-722

Donohoe BS, Selig MJ, Viamajala S, Adney WS, and ME Himmel (2009) Detecting Cellulase Penetration into Corn Stover Cell Walls by Immuno-Electron Microscopy. Biotechnology and Bioengineering; 103(3); pp. 480-489

Selig MJ, Vinzant TB, Himmel ME, and SR Decker (2009) The Effect of Lignin Removal by Alkaline Peroxide Pretreatment on the Susceptibility of Corn Stover to Purified Cellulolytic and Hemicellulolytic Enzymes. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology; 155(1-3); pp. 397-406

Knoshaug EP, Selig MJ, Decker SR, Baker JO, Himmel ME, and WS Adney (2008) Heterologous Expression of Two Ferulic Acid Esterases from Penicillium funiculosum. Applied Biotechemistry and Biotechnology; 146(1-3); pp. 79-87

Selig MJ, Knoshaug EP, Decker SR, Baker JO, Himmel ME, and WS Adney (2008) Heterologous Expression of Aspergillus niger β-D-Xylosidase (XlnD): Characterization on Lignocellulosic Substrates. Applied Biotechemistry and Biotechnology; 146(1-3); pp. 57-68

Selig MJ, Knoshaug EP, Adney WS, Himmel ME, and SR Decker (2008) Synergistic Enhancement of Cellobiohydrolase Performance on Pretreated Corn Stover by Addition of Xylanase and Esterase Activities. Bioresource Technology; 99(11); pp. 4997-5005

Selig MJ, Viamajala S, Tucker MP, Decker SR, Himmel ME, and TV Vinzant (2007) Deposition of Lignin Droplets Produced During Dilute Acid Pretreatment of Maize Stems Retards Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Cellulose. Biotechnology Progress; 23(6); pp. 1333-1339

Viamajala S, Selig MJ, Vinzant TV, Tucker MP, Himmel ME, McMillan JD, and SR Decker (2006) Catalyst Transport in Corn Stover Internodes: Elucidating Transport Mechanisms Using Direct Blue-I. Applied Biotechemistry and Biotechnology; 130 (1-3), 509-527