A research team led by Jay Keasling, Senior Faculty Scientist in the Biological Systems and Engineering and CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), has engineered bacteria to produce new-to-nature carbon products that could provide a powerful route to sustainable biochemicals.
The Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), was selected as one of four Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC) to be awarded a combined total of $590 million to support innovative research on biofuels and bioproducts.
In a virtual ceremony on January 24, Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences Paul Adams and Jay Keasling, Biological Systems and Engineering senior faculty scientist, were among several Lab staff who received the Department of Energy’s (DOE) highest form of employee recognition for excellence and achievements.
Jay Keasling, a senior faculty scientist in Biological Systems and Engineering, professor at UC Berkeley, and CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute, is the recipient of the Science History Institute’s 2022 Othmer Gold Medal. The award recognizes his efforts in developing innovative synthetic biology tools that address major societal challenges such as biofuel manufacturing and medical applications.
Synthetic biologists have successfully engineered microbes to make chemicals cheaply and more sustainably. However, researchers have been limited by the fact that microbes can only make molecules using chemical reactions seen in nature.
A collaboration between scientists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley has engineered the microbe E. coli to produce a molecule that, until now, could only be synthesized in a laboratory.