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Photo of Paul Frymier

Paul D. Frymier



Dr. Frymier earned his B.S. degree Magna Cum Laude (1985) and his M.S. degree (1987) in Aerospace Engineering from North Carolina State University.  Following his MS degree, he served in the US Peace Corps in the Gambia, West Africa until 1989.  He earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1995.  His dissertation research included experimental studies and theoretical modeling of subsurface migration and substrate degradation by chemotactic bacteria. In 1995, Dr. Frymier joined the University of Tennessee as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2001.  His research projects have included the development of whole cell and enzyme-based biosensors, modeling and reactor design for the bioproduction of commodity chemicals, real-time environmental toxicity monitoring, and cell migration and chemotaxis.  His current research interests include the study of microbial fuel cells and biological systems based on algae and cyanobacterial photosynthetic and electron transport systems for the production of electricity and hydrogen.


  • Thermal and temporal stability of hydrogen from the isolated, metalized photosystems of thermophyllic cyanobacteria
  • Improving the kinetics of electron transport in isolated photosystems and cytochromes
  • Enhanced electricity and hydrogen production from microbial fuel cells
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Ph.D., University of Virginia: Engineering and optimization of photosynthetic routes to biohydrogen; development and implementation of biosensors and sustainable energy.

Engineering of photosystems to enhance electron transport in biological photoactive systems, optimization of biological hydrogen production, reactor design for improved yield and power in microbial fuel cells

Professional Service

  • Member of AIChE
  • Member of ASEE

Awards and Recognitions

  • University of Tennessee College of Engineering Outstanding Advisor Award, 2013

  • University of Tennessee College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher Award, 2009, 2016

  • University of Tennessee Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence in Teaching, 2009

  • University of Tennessee College of Engineering Leon and Nancy Cole Superior Teaching Award, 2007

  • University of Tennessee College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher Award for the Department of Chemical Engineering, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016

  • The University of Tennessee Department of Chemical Engineering Tom and Ruth Clark Excellence Award in Teaching, The University of Tennessee, 2004, 2010

  • University of Tennessee College of Engineering Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award for the Department of Chemical Engineering, 1999, 2010, 2012, 2016

  • University of Tennessee College of Engineering Allied Signal Outstanding Faculty Teaching and Research Award, 1997


  • Martin, B. and Frymier P., “A Review of Hydrogen Production by Photosynthetic Organisms Using Whole-Cell and Cell-Free Systems”, Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, in press, 2017.
  • Nguyen, K., Vaughn, M., Frymier, P.D., Bruce, B., “In vitro kinetics of P700+ reduction of Thermosynechococcus elongatus trimeric photosystem I complexes by recombinant cytochrome c6 using a Joliot-type LED spectrometer”, Photosynth Res, 131 (1), 79-91, 2017.
  • Harris, B., Cheng, X., Frymier, PD, “Structure and Function of Photosystem I – [FeFe] Hydrogenase Protein Fusions: An All-Atom Molecular Dynamics Study”, J. Phys. Chem. B, J. Phys. Chem. B, 120, 599–609, 2016.
  • Le, R., Raeeszadeh-Sarmazdeh, M., Boder, E., Frymier, PD, “Sortase-mediated Ligation of PsaE-modified Photosystem I from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 to a Conductive Surface for Enhanced Photocurrent Production on a Gold Electrode”, Langmuir, 31, 1180-1188, 2015.
  • Harris, B., Cheng, X., Frymier, PD, “All-Atom Molecular Dynamics of a Photosystem I/Detergent Complex”, J. Phys. Chem. B, 118 (40), 11633–11645, 2014.
  • Le, R., Harris, B., Iwuchukwu IJ, Bruce, D, Cheng, X, Qian, S, Heller, WT, O’Neill, H, and Frymier, PD, “Analysis of the Solution Structure of Thermosynechococcus elongatus Photosystem I in n-dodecyl-β-D-maltoside Using Small-Angle Neutron Scattering and Molecular Dynamics Simulation”, Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 550, 50-57, 2014.
  • Steifel, DA, Tonn, B., and Frymier, PD, “Toward and Infinitely Reusable, Recyclable, and Renewable Industrial Ecosystem”, Journal of Cleaner Production, 66, 392-406, 2014.
  • Russell, TH and Frymier, PD “Bioethanol Production in Thailand: A Teaching Case Study Comparing Cassava and Sugar Cane Molasses”, Journal of Sustainability Education, 2012.
  • Iwuchukwu IJ, Iwuchukwu E, Le R, Paquet C, Sawhney R, Bruce B, and Frymier, P, “Optimization of photosynthetic hydrogen yield from platinized photosystem I complexes using response surface methodology”, Int. J. of Hydrogen Energy, 36, 11684-11692, 2011.
  • Kim, MH, Iwuchukwu, I, Wang, Y, Sanseverino, J, and Frymier, PD, “Design of a Dual-Anode Microbial Fuel Cell”, J. Power Sources, 196, 1909-1914, 2011.
  • Tonn B, Frymier P, Graves J, Myers J, “A Sustainable Energy Scenario For The United States: Year 2050”, Sustainability, 2, p. 3650-3680, 2010
  • Iwuchukwu, I, Vaughn, M, Myers, N, O’Neill, H, Frymier, P, Bruce, B. “Self-organized photosynthetic nanoparticle for cell-free hydrogen production”, Nature Nanotechnology, 5, 73-79, 2009.
  • Frymier, PD, Asmiova, M, and Morton, S. “Comparison of Three Bacterial Toxicity Assays for Imidazolium-derived Ionic Liquids”, Journal of Environmental Engineering, 135; 12, 1388-1392, 2009.
  • O'Lenick, Christopher J., Bienkowski, Paul R., Frymier, Paul D. and Weinstein, Richard N., ‘Effect of Bacterial Chemotaxis on Biodegradation in a Porous Medium”, Bioremediation Journal, 12 (3), 131 -144, 2008.
  • Weeks ML, Rahman T, Frymier PD, Islam SK, and McKnight, TE “A Reagentless Enzymatic Amperometric Biosensor Using Vertically Aligned Carbon NanoFibers (VACNF)”, Sensors & Actuators: B. Chemical, 133(1), Pages 53-59, 2008.
  • Ren, S., and P.D. Frymier, “Development of a three-stage system for wastewater toxicity monitoring. A design and feasibility study”, Water Environment Research 78 (9): 965-973, 2006.
  • Ren, S., and P.D. Frymier, “Toxicity of metals and organic chemicals evaluated with bioluminescence assays”, Chemosphere, 58 (5), 543-550, 2005.
  • Naidu S, Rao, PR Frymier, PD, Douglas S, Smith G, Parang M and Sawhney R, “The MS-MBA Program: Integrating Engineering, Entrepreneurship and New Product Development”, J. Am. Soc. Eng. Education, 2009.
  • Ren S, Schultz TW, Frymier PD, “Evaluation of the Shk1 activated sludge bacterial luminescence inhibition assay: Narcotic chemicals”, Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 72 (6), 1187-1194, 2004.
  • Ren, S., R.W. Mee and P.D. Frymier, “Using factorial experiments to study the toxicity of metal mixtures”. Ecotoxicol. Environ. Safety, 59 (1), 38-43, 2004.
  • Ren, S., P.D. Frymier, “Reducing bioassay variability by identifying sources of variation and controlling key parameters in assay protocol”, Chemosphere, 57 (2), 81-90, 2004.
  • Ren, S. and P.D. Frymier, “Statistical comparison of bioassays for assessment of toxicity of organic components of wastewater to activated sludge”, Journal of Environmental Engineering, 130 (4), 484-488, 2004.
  • Ren, Shijin, and Frymier, P.D., “Use of multidimensional scaling in the selection of wastewater toxicity test battery components”, Water Research, 37 (7), 1655-1661, 2003.
  • Ren, Shijin, and Frymier, P.D., “A comparative study of two bioassays for applications in influent wastewater toxicity monitoring”, Journal of Environmental Engineering, 129 (3), 216-221, 2003.
  • Ren, Shijin, and Frymier, P.D., “Toxicity estimation of phenolic compounds by bioluminescent bacterium”, Journal of Environmental Engineering, 129 (4), 328-335, 2003.
  • Ren, Shijin, and Frymier, P.D., “An exploratory study of the use of multivariate techniques to determine mechanisms of toxic action”, Ecotoxicity and Environmental Safety, 55 (1), 86-97, 2003.
  • Ren, Shijin, and Frymier, P.D., “Kinetics of the toxicity of heavy metals to luminescent bacteria”, Advances in Environmental Research, 7 (2), 537-547, 2003.
  • Ren, Shijin, and Frymier, P.D., “The use of a genetically-engineered Pseudomonas species (Shk1) as a bioluminescent bioreporter for heavy metal toxicity screening in wastewater treatment plant influent”, Water Environment Research, 75 (1), 21-29, 2003.
  • Cameron, P.A., B.H. Davison, P.D. Frymier, J.W. Barton. "Direct transesterification of gases by “dry” immobilized lipase," Biotechnol. Bioeng, 78 (3), 251-256, 2002.
  • Ren S. and Frymier P. D. “Modeling the toxicity of polar and non-polar narcotic compounds to luminescent bacterium Shk1”, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 21 (12), 2649-2653, 2002.
  • Ren, Shijin, and Frymier, P.D., “Estimating the toxicities of organic chemicals to bioluminescent bacteria and activated sludge”, Water Research, 36 (17), pp. 4406-4414, 2002.
Photo of Paul Frymier

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