Jay Keasling, a senior faculty scientist in Biological Systems and Engineering, professor at UC Berkeley, and CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), has been named a Distinguished Scientist Fellow by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
Jay Keasling Interviewed by Cimpatico TV on Using Bioengineering to Solve Global Challenges
Jay Keasling, Chief Executive Officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and Senior Faculty Scientist in BSE, was interviewed by Cimpatico TV on how bioengineering can solve global challenges.
The Future Looks Bright for Infinitely Recyclable Plastic
The average person in the U.S. generates about 100 kg of plastic waste per year, most of which goes straight to a landfill. A team led by the Joint BioEnergy Institute’s (JBEI) Corinne Scown and Jay Keasling and the Molecular Foundry’s Brett Helms and Kristin Persson set out to change that. Less than two years ago, Helms announced the invention of poly(diketoenamine), or PDK, a material that has all the convenient properties of traditional plastics while avoiding the environmental pitfalls. Now, collaborating with researchers from JBEI and Biosciences, the team has released a study that shows what can be accomplished if manufacturers began using PDKs on a large scale.
Finding the Missing Step of an Important Molecular Process
Lysine is an important amino acid that must be supplied in our diets, as our bodies can’t produce lysine on their own. Most cereal grains have low levels of lysine, and scientists have worked to breed crops with higher lysine levels.
However, the biochemical processes that break down lysine in plants weren’t fully understood. New Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) research, published in Nature Communications, reveals this last missing step of lysine catabolism.
Biosciences Area 2020 LDRD Projects
The projects of 14 Biosciences Area scientists and engineers received funding through the FY20 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. The funded projects span a diverse array of topics and approaches including: developing closed-loop plastics from biogenic feedstocks; reimagining a root system optimized for plant-microbe interactions; and creating computational tools for extracting macromolecular conformational dynamics. Lab-wide, 96 projects were selected from a field of 168 proposals. Biosciences Area efforts account for 18.5 percent of the $23 million allocated.
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