Jay Keasling, Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences, announced that Blake Simmons has accepted the position of Division Director for Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) effective February 10, 2016. He will retain his positions as Chief Scientific and Technology Officer and as the Vice President of the Deconstruction Division at the Joint BioEnergy Institute.
After earning his BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington, Simmons continued his studies at Tulane University, receiving his PhD in Chemical Sciences. For the past 15 years, Simmons has been part of the Senior Management team at Sandia National Laboratory, most recently serving as the Biomass Program Manager, as well as Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland. His expertise includes chemical engineering, biomass pretreatment, enzyme engineering, biofuel cells, nanomaterials, microfluidics, desalination, and silica biomineralization.
Simmons takes over from Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, who has served as the interim Division Director for BSE since the Biosciences Area re-organization took effect this past October 1. As the interim Division Director, Mukhopadhyay developed a strategic plan and led the effort to launch the Division, in addition to providing thoughtful input to the Biosciences Executive Committee on Area-wide matters ranging from strategic planning to policy formulation. In his announcement, Keasling thanked Mukhopadhyay for her service and congratulated and welcomed Simmons to his new role in Biosciences.