As the ALD for Biosciences, Paul Adams oversees the Biological Systems & Engineering (BSE), Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology (EGSB), and Molecular Biophysics & Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Divisions, as well as the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI). Adams is a senior scientist who has served as Director of the MBIB Division since 2015 and as Vice President for Technology and Director of Structural Biology for the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) since 2007. He heads a multi-institutional program, which he established when he joined the Lab in 1999, that develops the Phenix software suite used by structural biologists worldwide to solve macromolecular structures. In addition, he has overseen the Biosciences activities at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) since 2011 and has been Laboratory Research Manager for the ENIGMA Scientific Focus Area since 2009. Adams’s research focuses on the development of new algorithms and methods for structural biology, structural studies of large macromolecular machines, and development of cellulosic biofuels. He earned his doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh and performed his postdoctoral work at Yale University. He is also an adjunct professor in the department of bioengineering at the University of California Berkeley.
As Interim Area Deputy, Katy Christiansen supports Biosciences ALD Paul Adams, helping to plan and execute long-range strategies to advance the Area’s scientific mission. After earning her PhD in plant science from Indiana University, Bloomington, Christiansen first joined Berkeley Lab in 2008 as a postdoctoral researcher in the plant systems biology group at JBEI. After two years as a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office, where she served as a technical adviser and assisted in development of funding opportunities, she returned to the Biosciences Area in 2014 to help lead strategic planning efforts. Her efforts resulted in direct funding from DOE that established the multimillion dollar Agile BioFoundry (ABF) and Trial Ecosystem Advancement for Microbiome Science (TEAMS) programs. As Head of the Strategic Programs Development Group (SPDG) since its inception in 2020, she now leads program development activities and strategic planning for the Area, including building new multi-institutional research programs with other national laboratories. Christiansen is also responsible for the Biosciences Strategic Plan (BSP), a 10-year scientific strategic plan that describes biosciences research aspirations in energy, environment, health, biomanufacturing, and technology development.
Nikki Humphreys has worked in the University of California (UC) System for over twenty years gathering a wealth of experience and honing her analytical, communication, planning, and project management skills. She has held management positions at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC Agriculture & Natural Resources (UC ANR). Most recently, she has been serving as the Director of Administration of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Humphreys has demonstrated strengths in financial management, strategic planning, and personnel administration, making her well suited for this integral position. She has a strong track record in management, having twice received the Berkeley Staff Assembly Excellence in Management Award.
In addition to directing the Biological Systems & Engineering Division, Blake Simmons serves as the Chief Scientific and Technology Officer and Vice President of the Deconstruction Division at the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville. After earning his BS in chemical engineering from the University of Washington, Simmons continued his studies at Tulane University and received his doctorate in the same field. For the past 15 years, Simmons has been part of the Senior Management team at Sandia National Laboratories, most recently serving as the Senior Manager of Advanced Biomanufacturing, Biomass Program Manager, as well as Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland. His expertise includes biofuels, renewable chemicals, biomanufacturing, abiotic-biotic interfaces, biomass pretreatment, enzyme engineering, biofuel cells, templated nanomaterials, microfluidics, desalination, and biomineralization.
Susannah Tringe is a senior scientist and also Deputy of User Programs at the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI). Tringe has been at Berkeley Lab for 17 years and has led the Microbial Systems Group since 2010 and Metagenome Program from 2011 to 2015 before assuming the Deputy of User Programs role. Major foci of her current research efforts are the roles of microbial communities in wetland carbon cycling and the interactions of plants with their associated microbiomes. Tringe earned her bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University (summa cum laude) and her doctorate in biophysics from Stanford University. She is the 2021 recipient of the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, one of DOE’s highest honors. Tringe was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2018 was recognized as a top young researcher by Popular Science magazine in their “Brilliant 10” list.
Junko Yano is a senior scientist who has served as MBIB Deputy for Science since 2020; prior to that she led MBIB’s Bioenergetics Department for five years. Yano has served as a member of the Lab Staff Committee since 2016 and the DOE Council on Chemical and Biochemical Sciences since 2015. She is a co-principal investigator of the multi-institutional Liquid Sunlight Alliance (LiSA), one of two projects in the Fuels from Sunlight Energy Innovation Hub funded by the DOE Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences. Yano earned her doctorate in physical chemistry at Osaka University and came to the Lab as a postdoctoral fellow in 2001. Her research interests pertain to problems of importance in energy—particularly renewable energy sources. Her group uses X-ray spectroscopy and crystallography at X-ray free electron lasers and synchrotron facilities to understand biological and inorganic systems under functional conditions. They are studying how, during photosynthesis, plants use light to split water using a catalytic Mn4Ca cluster, converting light energy into chemical energy.
Nigel Mouncey joined us on March 15, 2017 as the Director of the DOE Joint Genome Institute. Hailing from England, Mouncey earned his Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology with honors from the University of Glasgow and received his Doctor of Philosophy in biochemistry at the University of Sussex. He completed post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School and the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. Mouncey spent 10 years at Roche Vitamins in New Jersey and DSM Nutritional Products in Switzerland before joining Dow AgroSciences in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has a demonstrated strong track record in microbiology and management, in both the academic and industry sectors.