Profiles in Research Leadership

The scientific and engineering community at UC Berkeley and its nearby research centers is a global leader in synthetic biology research. SBI builds on this strong foundation by providing new opportunities for collaboration and education, as well as a common technology infrastructure. Its affiliated researchers, listed here, bring a broad interdisciplinary perspective to the work, and an exceptional record of achievement and innovation in bioengineering, chemical and biomolecular engineering, molecular biology, and other fields.

Paul Adams is a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and an adjunct professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley. He heads the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology at LBNL, is deputy director of LBNL’s Physical Biosciences Division, and is vice president for technology at the Joint BioEnergy Institute. His 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 did postdoctoral work at Yale University. A recipient of LBNL’s Outstanding Performance Award in 2004, he joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 2007. More

Caroline Ajo-Franklin is a staff scientist at LBNL’s Molecular Foundry. Her research explores and engineers the interface between living organisms and non-living materials at the nanoscale. By programming processes such as electron transfer and biomineralization, she is working to enable cells to communicate electronically with electrodes and to control the synthesis of inorganic materials. She is working toward creating a new class of smart, self-renewing materials based on genetically reconfigured living cells seamlessly integrated with human-made components. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University and was a postdoctoral fellow in systems biology at Harvard Medical School. More

J. Christopher Anderson is assistant professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley. His research is developing the foundational technologies and applications for synthetic biology, with a emphasis on advanced DNA assembly, computer-aided manufacture, and therapeutic organisms. He joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 2007 after earning a Ph.D from the Scripps Research Institute and pursuing postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley. His work was recognized by Technology Review with the TR35 Award in 2007 and by Synthetic Biology 2.0 with its Best Application Award in 2006. More

Murat Arcak is associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley. His research is in nonlinear systems and control theory, with applications to biological networks, power systems, communication networks, and cooperative robotics. He received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation in 2003, the Donald P. Eckman Award from the American Automatic Control Council in 2006, and the SIAG/CST Prize from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in 2007. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute before joining the UC Berkeley faculty in 2008. More

Adam Arkin, director of SBI and of the Physical Biosciences Division at LBNL, is the Dean A. Richard Newton Memorial Professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Bioengineering. He is also co-director of the Virtual Institute of Microbial Stress and Survival, director of bioinformatics at the Joint Bioenergy Institute, and co-director of BIOFAB (International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology). His research centers on uncovering the evolutionary design principles of cellular networks and populations and exploiting them for applications. He and colleagues are developing a framework to facilitate applications in health, the environment, and bioenergy by combining comparative functional genomics, quantitative measurement of cellular dynamics, biophysical modeling of cellular networks, and cellular circuit design. A member of the UC Berkeley faculty since 1999, he earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2007 and has been profiled in Time as a “future innovator.” More

Harvey Blanch is the Merck Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UC Berkeley, a senior faculty scientist at LBNL, and the chief scientific and technical officer for the Department of Energy Joint BioEnergy Institute. His research interests include bioseparations, mass transfer in biological systems, fermentation, and mammalian cell metabolism, all directed toward the biological production of materials such as therapeutic proteins, commodity chemicals, and fuels. He earned his doctorate at the University of New South Wales and joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1978. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a Founding Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and his work has been recognized with awards from the American Chemical Society, the Engineering Foundation, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. In 2010, the Society for Biological Engineering awarded him its James E. Bailey Award for Outstanding Contributions in Biological Engineering. More

Rachel Brem is assistant professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on understanding the principles that govern reactions within cells, with the goal of giving scientists and bioengineers greater ability to engineer new cells to manufacture chemicals, produce energy, and perform other useful functions. Her lab group uses genetically distinct strains of budding yeast, other fungi, and human cell lines as models for the study of natural variation in RNA expression and quantitative regulatory biochemistry. Brem earned her Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of California, San Francisco, and joined UC Berkeley faculty in 2006. More

Steven E. Brenner is a professor of plant and microbial biology at UC Berkeley. He is also an affiliated professor in the molecular and cell biology, an affiliated associate professor in the bioengineering, and a faculty biologist at LBNL. His research centers on computational and experimental genomics in four key areas — gene regulation by alternative splicing and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, prediction of protein function using Bayesian phylogenomics, medical and environmental metagenomics, and structural genomics and proteins complexes. The International Society for Computational Biology awarded him its 2010 Overton Prize, recognizing him as a young scientist who has already achieved a significant and lasting impact. He received his Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Cambridge and has been on the UC Berkeley faculty since 2000. More

Jamie Cate is an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and of chemistry at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on the production of biofuels, as well as protein synthesis. He is interested in understanding how microbes extract carbon from plant biomass, an abundant resource for a sustainable chemical industry. Dr. Cate’s lab is using synthetic biology and systems approaches to retool baker’s yeast for biorefinery applications. The lab also probes the molecular basis for protein synthesis, and the structural basis for antibiotic action on the ribosome. Dr. Cate received his Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University, and has been on the UC Berkeley faculty since 2001. He received a Searle Scholars award in 2000 and was honored with the 2008 Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award of The Protein Society. More

Michelle Chang is assistant professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley. Her research applies the approaches of mechanistic biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, metabolic engineering, and synthetic biology to address problems in energy and human health. Among her projects are the design and creation of new biosynthetic pathways in microbial hosts for in vivo production of biofuels from abundant crop feedstocks and pharmaceuticals from natural products or natural product scaffolds. She earned a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004, did postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley, and joined its faculty in 2007. She received the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award in 2008 and the Agilent Early Career Award in 2010. More

Douglas Clark is is dean of the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and the Gilbert Newton Lewis Professor of Chemistry. Research in his lab is centered on biochemical engineering, with emphasis on protein engineering for biocatalysis and advanced biomaterials. He holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and has been on the UC Berkeley faculty since 1986. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biomedical Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he has been editor-in-chief of the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering since 1996. He has been honored with the Marvin J. Johnson Award in Microbial and Biochemical Technology from the American Chemical Society; the Food, Pharmaceutical, and Bioengineering Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; the Amgen Award in Biochemical Engineering; the International Enzyme Engineering Award; the NorCal Chemical Engineering Award—Industrial Research; and the Department of Chemical Engineering Teaching Award. More

Sam Deutsch is a scientist in the Genomics Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and at the DOE Joint Genome Institute. He works on the development of gene-synthesis methods to characterize the functional properties of proteins predicted through large-scale sequencing efforts. Previous research includes the study of common complex genetic traits using both linkage and association-based studies and genomics-based techniques to improve genome annotation. He received his Ph.D. in medical genetics at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, where he was also a postdoctoral fellow. He is the recipient of the Lodewijk Sandjuijl Award in Statistical Genetics from the European Society of Human Genetics. More

Jennifer A. Doudna is professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at UC Berkeley. Her research seeks to understand how non-coding RNA molecules control the expression of genetic information. Current projects focus on RNA-mediated initiation of protein synthesis and the molecular mechanisms of small-RNA mediated gene regulation in humans and bacteria. Dr. Doudna holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University. After serving as a member of the Yale University faculty for eight years, during which time she was promoted to Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, she joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 2002. She has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator since 1997 and a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 2002. She was named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003 and elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2010. More

John Dueber is assistant professor of bioengineering and a principal investigator with the Energy Biosciences Institute at UC Berkeley. His research employs protein engineering and synthetic biology approaches to gain designable control over biological systems. His current focus is on developing bioenergy applications, as well as related strategies that can be generalized to other applications. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, San Francisco, in 2005 and joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 2010 after postdoctoral studies there as a QB3 Distinguished Fellow. More

Dan Fletcher is professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley and a faculty scientist at LBNL, where he is deputy director of the Physical Biosciences Division. His research focuses on the mechanics and dynamics of cell movements and the development of new technologies to study cell behavior based on optical microscopy, force microscopy, and microfabrication. He holds a D.Phil. from Oxford University in engineering science and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, where he was also a postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry. He has been on the UC Berkeley faculty since 2002. His work has been recognized by many awards, including a Tech Award in Health from the Tech Museum, a National Inventors Hall of Fame Award, and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, as well as a Department of Bioengineering Teaching Award. He also served as a White House Fellow, working with the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. More

Matt Francis is an associate professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley. He is developing organic reaction strategies that can attach synthetic components to specific locations on protein surfaces, with the goal of creating new hybrid materials with useful electronic and biological functions. His specific research interests include the functionalization of viral capsids for drug and imaging agent delivery, the use of viral capsid proteins to construct artificial light-harvesting systems, protein-based materials for wastewater treatment, and the incorporation of living cells into device formats through the hybridization of synthetic DNA strands introduced on their plasma membranes. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University and has been on the UC Berkeley faculty since 2001. He received the Dreyfus Foundation New Faculty Award, an NSF CAREER Award, and a GlaxoSmithKline Young Investigator Award. He has also been honored with the Departmental Teaching Award on two occasions, the Noyce Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and the 2009 UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award. More

Jay GrovesJay T. Groves, a professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley, has a long-standing interest in the physical and biological aspects of cell membranes, and he has devoted his career to bridging the divide between physical and biological sciences. His lab focuses on how spatial organization influences signal transduction processes at the cell membrane. He holds his Ph.D. in biophysics from Stanford University. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and is the recipient of many other honors, including the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, the Searle Scholars Award, the MIT Technology Review 100, the Beckman Young Investigator Award, and the NSF CAREER Award. He has been an associate editor of Annual Reviews of Physical Chemistry since 2006. More

Ming Hammond is assistant professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley and holds the Chevron Chair in Chemistry. Her research focuses on re-engineering functional RNAs, small-molecule targeting of RNAs and mechanistic studies of RNA-based gene regulation, with the long-term goal of learning how to adapt RNA for new applications inside cells, including molecular sensing and gene control. Her work also examines riboswitches and new technologies to control the expression of introduced genes in biofuel crops. She earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from UC Berkeley, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University from 2005-09. She was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellow, and has been a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface Investigator since 2008. She joined the Berkeley faculty in 2009. More

Teresa Head-Gordon is professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley and a faculty staff scientist at LBNL. Her research focuses on understanding and developing engineering strategies to have an impact on biological function, with particular emphasis on protein aggregation disease, biomaterials assembly, and glassy dynamics of nanomaterials. She earned her Ph.D. in 1989 at Carnegie Mellon University, joining LBNL in 1992 and the UC Berkeley faculty in 2001. She has been honored with the 2001 IBM-SUR Award for Research in Computational Biology and the 2005-06 Schlumberger Medal and Sabbatical Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. Since 2006 she has been on the faculty of Cambridge’s Clare Hall. More

Nathan Hillson is a Biochemist Staff Scientist at Berkeley Lab, Director of Synthetic Biology at the Joint Bioenergy Institute, and Program Lead of Genome Engineering at the Joint Genome Institute. His responsibilities are to develop and demonstrate experimental wetware, software, and laboratory automation devices that facilitate, accelerate, and standardize the engineering of microbes. He earned a Ph.D. in Biophysics from Harvard Medical School and was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He joined Berkeley Lab in 2009. More

Ian Holmes is associate professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley. His research interests include using computers to investigate the evolution and ecology of genomes, including the development of statistical bioinformatics tools for that task, and developing a Web 2.0 genomics infrastructure. In synthetic biology, his work focuses on RNA engineering, paleogenetics, and metagenomics. He earned his Ph.D. in genetics in 1998 from the University of Cambridge and joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 2004. He is associate editor of BMC Evolutionary Biology and is on the scientific advisory board of CLC Bio and the board of directors of the Evolutionary Software Foundation. More

Jay Keasling is the Hubbard Howe Jr. Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering at UC Berkeley, where he holds appointments in bioengineering and in chemical and biomolecular engineering. He is a senior faculty scientist at LBNL and is associate laboratory director for biosciences; he is also CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and director of the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC). His research focuses on the metabolic engineering of microorganisms for degradation of environmental contaminants or for environmentally friendly synthesis of drugs, chemicals, and fuels. He holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan and has been on the UC Berkeley faculty since 1992. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, his other honors include the inaugural Biotech Humanitarian Award from the Biotechnology Industry Organization in 2009, the 2007 Professional Progress Award from the American Institute for Chemical Engineers, the first ever Scientist of the Year award from Discover magazine in 2006, and the Technology Pioneer award from the World Economic Forum in 2005. More

KerfeldCheryl A. Kerfeld holds appointments with both Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley.  Her research group focuses on structure-based characterization and engineering of photoprotection and the carbon concentrating mechanism in cyanobacteria; her group is also developing bacterial microcompartment-based systems for metabolic engineering.  The Kerfeld group combines methods in bioinformatics, cellular imaging, synthetic and structural biology (protein crystallography and small angle X-ray scattering) for the engineering bacterial metabolism.  She holds a Ph.D. in structural biology from UCLA and joined UCB and LBNL in 2007. More

Arash Komeili is assistant professor of plant and microbial biology at UC Berkeley. His research centers on the assembly and subcellular organization of bacterial organelles, particularly magnetosomes — membranous organelles that certain bacteria use for orientation and navigation within the earth’s geomagnetic field. His laboratory uses a combination of cell biological, genetic, and biochemical approaches to define the physical characteristics of magnetosomes and identify key genes involved in controlling their production and function. He earned a Ph.D. in cell biology from the University of California, San Francisco. He has been awarded a Packard Foundation Fellowship in Science and Engineering and a Hellman Family Faculty Fund Award, both in 2007. More

Sanjay Kumar is assistant professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley and a faculty scientist at LBNL. His research interests include the principles of mechanical sensing in metazoan cells, the macromolecular basis of cell shape, and the materials science of proteins. In addition to building a fundamental understanding of cellular mechano-biology, his work seeks to further the rational design of cellular biotechnology and the development of new forms of therapy. He earned his Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and an M.D. from Johns Hopkins University and joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 2005. His work has been recognized with the 2011 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Young Investigator Award from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the Hellman Family Faculty Fund Award, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), given by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Army Research Office. More

Seung-Wuk Lee is assistant professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley and a faculty scientist at LBNL. His research centers on bio-inspired nanomaterials and nanotechnology. He and his collaborators are developing new ways to fabricate high-performance materials and devices through self-assembly processes by exploiting biological organisms such as viruses and cells. They are also designing synthetic viruses that can be exploited as regenerative tissue, engineering materials, and drug-delivery vehicles. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, and he joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 2005. His honors include the Berkeley Faculty Research Fund Award, the UC Berkeley Presidential Chair Fellowship, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and the Hellman Family Faculty Fund Award. More

Han Lim is assistant professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley. His lab combines theory and experimentation to gain quantitative insight into the fundamental processes involved in gene regulation. His research focuses on understanding the functional basis of genome and gene-network evolution, identifying new strategies for treating bacterial infections, and developing novel components that can be used in synthetic biology. He earned his Ph.D. in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Cambridge in 2001, and his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Queensland, Australia. He did postdoctoral work at both Cambridge (in genetics) and MIT (in physics), and joined the Berkeley faculty in 2005. He is a member of Berkeley’s graduate groups in Bioengineering, Biophysics, and Microbiology More

Dominique Loqué is a staff scientist and director of cell-wall engineering for feedstocks at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Joint BioEnergy Institute. He earned his Ph.D. in plant nutrition at Hohenheim University in Germany, and was subsequently a postdoctoral researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University. He is interested in discovery and innovation, and his current research activities relate to the optimization of plant development and biomass characteristics for sustainable energy-crop and bioenergy production. He is developing synthetic biology tools for plant engineering – applicable to many plant species – to reduce cell-wall recalcitrance and, ultimately, optimized energy-crop production. Additionally, he serves on the editorial boards of Frontiers in Plant Physiology and Frontiers in Plant Science. More

Michel Maharbiz is associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley. His current research centers on building micro/nano interfaces to cells and organisms and exploring bio-derived fabrication methods. His research group is also known for developing the world’s first remotely radio-controlled cyborg beetles; this was named one of the top 10 emerging technologies of 2009 by MIT’s Technology Review (TR10) and was among Time magazine’s Top 50 Inventions of 2009. His long-term goal is understanding developmental mechanisms as a way to engineer and fabricate machines. He received his Ph.D. in 2003 from UC Berkeley for his work on microbioreactor systems, which led to the foundation of Microreactor Technologies Inc., which was recently acquired by Pall Corporation. He has been a GE Scholar and an Intel IMAP Fellow. More

Susan Marqusee is professor of molecular and cellular biology at UC Berkeley and Berkeley director of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3). Her research focus is on protein engineering, with the long-term goal of understanding the structural and dynamic information encoded in the linear sequence of amino acids. She and her colleagues have developed several methodologies, including the application of novel hydrogen exchange techniques and the mechanical manipulation of single protein molecules, to probe the energy landscape — cellular dynamics and function — of proteins, including proteins from thermophilic organisms that retain their native structures under extreme conditions. Other projects in her lab focus on the mechanism of protein misfolding, the structural and energetic mechanism of signaling, computational identification of folding modules, and the role of ligand binding. She holds an M.D and a Ph.D. from Stanford University and has been on the UC Berkeley faculty since 1992. More

Gerard Marriott is professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley. His research is aimed at understanding the molecular and structural basis of complex cellular processes, including motility and muscle contraction. He and his colleagues draw on chemistry, biology, engineering, and physics for the design and application of new optical probes and microscope imaging techniques that are used to investigate protein function and dynamics over a hierarchy of organizational levels, ranging from single molecules to cells within animals. He earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois in 1987 and joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 2008. He has been honored with the Fluorescence Investigator Award from the American Biophysics Society, as well as fellowships from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Alexander von Humboldt Society and guest professorships at Tsinghua University Graduate School and Southeast University China. The OLID-FRET imaging microscopy technique that he helped develop was named one of The Scientist magazine’s Top-Ten Innovations of 2008. More

Richard A. Mathies is Professor of the Graduate School in chemistry and former Dean of the College of Chemistry. He currently has two research groups employing modern optical-laser spectroscopic techniques. The “Raman Group” uses resonance Raman spectroscopy and other methods to study chemical and biological reaction dynamics, with a focus on the mechanism of photoactive proteins that mediate information and energy transduction. The “DNA/Microchip Group” exploits the sensitivity of laser-excited fluorescence detection to develop high-performance microfabricated chemical and biochemical analysis methods and “lab-on-a-chip” apparatus. He earned a Ph.D. at Cornell University and joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1976. He is a fellow of the Optical Society of America and the Royal Society of Chemistry. His awards include the Association for Laboratory Automation 2001 Research Award, the Harold Lamport Award from the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Photobiology Research Award, the Frederick Conference on Capillary Electrophoresis Award, and the Instrumentation Award from the Analytical Chemistry Division of the ACS. He is the author of more than 400 publications and patents on photochemistry, photobiology, bioanalytical chemistry, and genome-analysis technology. More

Dan Nomura is a UC Berkeley faculty member in the metabolic biology program in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology. He earned his Ph.D in molecular toxicology at Berkeley and was a postdoctoral fellow in chemical physiology at The Scripps Research Institute before returning to Berkeley as a faculty member in 2011. Research in his lab focuses on discovering and characterizing dysregulated metabolic networks in disease, using functional proteomic and metabolomic platforms to identify enzymes that represent nodal points of control for pharmacological intervention and therapy. These dysregulated biochemical networks contribute to the pathophysiology of many complex human diseases and conditions, including cancer, pain, inflammation, neurodegenerative disease, atherosclerosis, obesity, and diabetes. Among his honors are selection as a Searle Scholar and an NIH Pathway to Independence Award. More

Trent NorthenTrent Northen is a Staff Scientist in the Life Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI). His research aims to construct detailed models of metabolism and energetic of cellular communities. This approach is being applied to understand the dynamics of microbial communities and the metabolic drivers of breast cancer and Huntington’s disease. He earned his doctorate in chemistry and biochemistry from Arizona State University, and he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Scripps Research Institute Center for Mass Spectrometry. He has received the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, and in 2006 he was named “Innovator of Tomorrow” by Arizona State University. More

Lior Pachter holds the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Chair in Computational Biology at UC Berkeley and joint appointments as a professor of molecular and cell biology, mathematics, and computer science. He is also director of Berkeley’s Center for Computational Biology. He joined the Berkeley faculty in 2001 after earning his Ph.D in applied mathematics at MIT and serving as a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley. His research interests span the mathematical and biological sciences, centering on algorithms, combinatorics, comparative genomics, algebraic statistics, molecular biology, and evolution. His honors include a National Science Foundation CAREER award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, the Miller Professorship, and a Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for the successful technology transfer of the widely used sequence-alignment software his group has developed. More

Jasper Rine is professor of genetics, genomics and development at UC Berkeley. His research centers on the epigenetic mechanisms by which the information in a genome is expressed through cell division in a stable and heritable manner. He has used the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to make discoveries on how specialized domains of chromatin structure are established, maintained and inherited. His lab has recently turned its attention to exploring the functional consequences of human genetic and epigenetic variation, with the goal of understanding neural tube defects, one of the most common forms of birth defects. Dr. Rine holds a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from the University of Oregon and joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1982. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California in 2006. More

Eddy Rubin is director of the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute and director of LBNL’s Genomics Division. An internationally recognized geneticist, he focuses his research on the development of computational and biological approaches for studying genomes. Recently he has spearheaded the new science of metagenomics, deriving important insights from his investigations of microbial communities inhabiting environments ranging from gutless ocean-dwelling worms to cow rumen. He holds an M.D. from the University of Rochester Medical Center and a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Rochester. More

Stuart Russell is professor of computer science in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley and the Smith-Zadeh Professor in Engineering. He is also an adjunct professor of neurological surgery at UCSF. His research interests include artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, computational physiology (with clinical applications), and knowledge representation for systems biology. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University and has been on the UC Berkeley faculty since 1986. He received the Presidential Young Investigator Award of the National Science Foundation in 1990 and was co-winner of the Computers and Thought Award in 1995. In 1998, he gave the Forsythe Memorial Lectures at Stanford University. He is a fellow and former Executive Council member of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. He is the author of Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, the leading AI textbook, used in more than 1,200 universities in 112 countries. More

David SavageDavid Savage is a faculty member in the Departments of Molecular & Cell Biology and Chemistry. His research incorporates biophysics, synthetic biology, and systems biology to study the regulation, evolution, and engineering of microbial metabolism. He earned his Ph.D. at UCSF for work on membrane protein structure determination, and from 2007-11 he was a Life Sciences Research Foundation fellow in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. He is the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and a participant in the Department of Energy Early Career Research Program. More

David Schaffer is professor of chemical and biomolecular Engineering at UC Berkeley and is co-director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center. His research interests include mechanistic investigation of stem-cell control, as well as molecular evolution and engineering of viral gene delivery vehicles, with the goal of developing applications in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. He holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1999. He has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, the Whitaker Foundation Young Investigator Award, the American Chemical Society BIOT Division Young Investigator Award, and the Biomedical Engineering Society Rita Shaffer Young Investigator Award. He has been named a Technology Review Top 100 Innovator and, in 2010, was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. More

Henrik V. Scheller is senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and works as vice president of the Feedstocks Division and director of cell wall biosynthesis at the Joint BioEnergy Institute. He also holds a position as adjunct professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley. Dr. Scheller’s research aims to provide the basic knowledge of how plants synthesize the polysaccharides in their cell walls, and how different cell wall properties affect their biological function. This knowledge is used to generate modified plants with improved properties as biofuel feedstocks. Dr. Scheller earned a PhD in plant biochemistry from the Royal Agricultural University in Denmark in 1989, and he joined LBNL, JBEI and the UC faculty in 2008. More

Charis ThompsonCharis Thompson is professor of gender and women’s studies and rhetoric at UC Berkeley, and is associate director of the campus’s Science, Technology & Society Center. Her research centers on science and technology studies; reproductive and genetic technologies; transnational comparative studies of reproduction, population, biodiversity, and environment; and feminist theory. She serves on UC Berkeley’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee. She studied at Oxford University and earned her Ph.D. in science studies at UC San Diego. Before coming to Berkeley, she taught science and technology studies at Cornell University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and history of science at Harvard University. She is the author of Making Parents: The Ontological Choreography of Reproductive Technologies (MIT Press, 2005), winner of the 2007 Rachel Carson Award from the Society for the Social Study of Science, and of the forthcoming Good Science: Ethical Choreography of Pluripotent Stem Cell Research (MIT Press). More

Jeremy Thorner is professor of molecular and cell biology and the William V. Power Professor in Biology. His research focuses on transmembrane and intracellular signal transduction mechanisms, with a particular interest in understanding how extracellular stimuli control gene expression, cell growth, cell morphology, and cell division at the biochemical level. He earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University and joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1974. His research and teaching have been recognized with many awards, including a 10-year MERIT Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the Dean's Award for Distinguished Research Mentoring of Undergraduates in the Biological Sciences from the College of Letters and Science at Berkeley. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. More

Danielle Tullman-Ercek is assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on developing new strategies for the engineering of naturally occurring biological systems to yield improved and novel functions for industrial and pharmaceutical applications. She seeks to combine a synthetic-biology-based approach with protein and metabolic engineering techniques for the re-engineering of the protein-based systems involved in secretion, cellulose degradation, and compartmentalization. She holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. She joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 2009. More

Wenjun ZhangWenjun Zhang is on the faculty in chemical and biomolecular engineering. Her research centers on biomolecular engineering for applications in medicine and bioenergy. The lab’s work includes genome mining for new bioactive small-molecule discovery, pathway enzyme identification and characterization, and pathway designs toward combinatorial natural-product biosynthesis and biofuel production. She received her doctorate in chemical engineering from UCLA, was a Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School. She received the 2011 Proposal Award from the Energy Biosciences Institute, headquartered at UC Berkeley. More

 

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