Student Profile

John Buns
Class of '10

John Buns was in the inaugural cohort of the Illinois PSM students, earning his M.S. degree in Bioenergy in 2010.  His educational background was in molecular and cellular biology, earning his undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University.  John chose the Illinois PSM because he “really enjoyed practical application rather than theory during his undergraduate experience and wanted to enter a more industry focused program.” His internship centered on biomass densification (pellets) with the Dudley Smith Farm and the Agricultural and Biological Engineering department at Illinois.  He highly recommends that students “take advantage of the program and everything Illinois has to offer, from the student organizations to the prestigious professors.”  John now works in Technical Sales for DuPont Industrial Biosciences and serves on the Illinois PSM Advisory Board.

Bioprocessing & Bioenergy

Bridging science and business to meet sustainable energy demand is the purpose of the Bioprocessing and Bioenergy program. 

The world has reached a turning point in energy production. As consumption rises, so does the demand for cleaner, renewable energy. The University of Illinois is rising to the challenge.

The Illinois Professional Science Master’s in bioprocessing and bioenergy centers on advanced and innovative methods of energy production. Bridging science with business, the program blends the technology and science of biofuels with the business skills necessary to transfer scientific knowledge to practical application.

The Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) at Illinois leads the way in bioenergy research and education. Built on Illinois’ expertise in energy and sustainability, IBRL is committed to bioenergy R&D and to creating a well-educated scientific and technical workforce in bioenergy and related biosciences. The Illinois PSM in bioprocessing and bioenergy is a key component of IBRL's mission.


As bioprocessing and bioenergy technologies grow, so do bioprocessing and bioenergy career opportunities. The Illinois PSM in bioprocessing and bioenergy provides excellent preparation for careers in advanced cellulosic ethanol bio-refineries. Careers in the bioenergy life cycle — from feedstock supply to biofuel transportation and distribution — are also attractive options for bioenergy graduates. Bioenergy scientists, managers, and engineers with leadership, entrepreneurship, technology management, and other business skills will be well-prepared for positions of significant responsibility.


The bioprocessing and bioenergy PSM allows students to tailor their courses to their professional goals.  Students have the opportunity to take classes in the following specialty areas:

  • plants, soils, and feedstocks;
  • production, processing, and use;
  • environment, economics, policy & law; and
  • tools and methods.

For additional information or to discuss your learning and career objectives, contact Ronda Sullivan, recruiting contact for bioprocessing and bioenergy, at or (217) 244-9528


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