The Joint BioEnergy Institute was one of several institutions who partnered with the Institute for STEM Education at CSU East Bay to hold the annual STEM Career Awareness Day for 160 local high school students and teachers (Berkeley, Emery, Castlemont, and Skyline High Schools) on April 11. The event provided participants an inside look at East Bay science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. JBEI researchers Emilie Rennie (second from left), Pouya Javidpour (far left), and Sarah Rodriguez (right) were on hand to talk with students and teachers about potential career paths, answer questions about their educational backgrounds as well as showcase JBEI’s innovation and technology. (Pictured second from right is Azure Stewart of CSU East Bay.)
Posts Tagged ‘Joint BioEnergy Institute’
Jay Keasling, ALD for Biosciences, and Mary Maxon, who heads strategic planning and development for Biosciences, are spearheading a proposal to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) called BOB – for Berkeley Open Biofoundry. If successful, this proposal would create a new type of user facility in which industrial, academic, and government stakeholders will have access to engineered biological systems, including microbes, plants and tissues, at all stages of the engineering process, including design, building, testing and learning. BOB recently passed a crucial first test when DARPA awarded the Lab $1.5 million to proceed with a “Task Area 1” (TA1) design and study phase. The Lab submitted the BOB proposal in partnership with four private corporations, Amyris, Agilent, Lockheed Martin and 20n Labs. More>
Michael Thelen, Thomas Ruegg and Blake Simmons of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), led the identification of the genetic origins of a resistance to ionic liquids found in a tropical rainforest microbe. This genetic mechanism was then successfully introduced into a strain of E. coli that’s been engineered to produce advanced biofuels. Ionic liquids are used to make cellulosic biomass digestible for the E.coli but have had to be completely removed prior to fermentation because of toxicity. Ionic liquid resistance eliminates this bottleneck. Also contributing to this research were Eun-Mi Kim, Jay Keasling, Steven Singer and Taek Soon Lee. More>
Dominique Loqué — a member of the Physical Biosciences Division who directs the cell wall engineering program for the Joint BioEnergy Institute Feedstocks Division — has been selected as this year’s winner of the Robert Rabson Award by the American Society of Plant Biology. Loqué was recognized for his contributions to bioenergy research through the genetic engineering of healthy plants whose lignocellulosic biomass can more easily be broken down into simple sugars for the production of advanced biofuels. Working with the model plant, Arabidopsis, and using the tools of synthetic biology, Loqué is developing ways to reduce the production of lignin while increasing the yield of fuel sugars in plant cell walls. For more about Loqué’s research, go here.
Aindrila Mukhopadhyay is a microbiologist at Berkeley Lab’s Joint BioEnergy Institute, where she investigates the most effective ways to use microbes to convert plants into biofuels. Mukhopadhyay leads a multidisciplinary team studying stress response in bacteria. Her work ranges from hands-on research to grant writing. As a student Mukhopadhyay was always passionate about science, and she went on to earn a doctorate in chemistry. Every day she celebrates “small victories” at work and enjoys improving biofuels that will power the cars of today and tomorrow. More>
To date, 22 Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) projects have attracted more than $625 million in private-sector follow-on funding after ARPA-E’s investment of approximately $95 million. ARPA-E earlier this week hosted a summit and technology showcase. As part of that event, four project videos were debuted, one of which, on biofuels, mentions the Joint BioEnergy Institute, Jim Kirby (Physical Biosciences), and Christer Janssen (Earth Sciences). More>
During a recent trip to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, Danish Minister for Science and Higher Education Sofie Carsten Nielsen visited the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI). Nielsen met with JBEI’s Vice President of Feedstocks Henrik Scheller (left) and Director of Commercialization, Robin Johnston (right). The visit was part of an effort by Denmark to strengthen collaborations between knowledge institutions and businesses. JBEI shared its experience as an organization that represents a departure from traditional research institutions. JBEI’s streamlined approach, coupled with a culture of innovation, has resulted in a rate of invention disclosure and licensing that is more than double that of the top five U.S. universities, per funding dollar.
Researchers from the Joint BioEnergy Institute, Joint Genome Institute, and collaborators have developed a portable, network-enabled system for testing drinking water contamination. The system, called ScanDrop, uses microfluidics technology and cloud-based networking to scan water samples for pathogens and transmit the data remotely. More>
Joint BioEnergy Institute CEO Jay Keasling, Sarah Richardson and Sam Deutsch of the Joint Genome Institute, and Nathan Hillson of JBEI last month gave a presentation on synthetic biology to the Lab’s Community Advisory Group (CAG). CAG was formed in 2010 to provide input into the Lab’s physical plans and development projects.
A Berkeley Lab-led team hopes to engineer a new enzyme that efficiently converts methane to liquid transportation fuel. “There’s a lot of methane available, and we want to develop a new way to harness it as an energy source for vehicles,” says Christer Jansson, a biochemist in the Earth Sciences Division who heads the effort. The ARPA-E project also involves researchers from the Life Sciences Division, the Advanced Light Source, the Joint BioEnergy Institute, and several industrial partners. More>