Jay Keasling is the Philomathia Professor of Alternative Energy at the University of California, Berkeley in the Departments of Bioengineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, senior faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Chief Executive Officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI). Dr. Keasling’s research focuses on the metabolic engineering of microorganisms for degradation of environmental contaminants or for environmentally friendly synthesis of drugs, chemicals, and fuels. Keasling received a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from the University of Nebraska and M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and did post-doctoral research in biochemistry at Stanford University. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors.
The mission of the research in the Keasling Laboratory is to develop foundational tools for engineering metabolism inside cells and to use those tools to solve important societal problems. They have created a variety of tools for regulating metabolic pathways inside cells, novel metabolic pathways to produce unnatural molecules, and robust microbial hosts for producing chemicals under a variety of industrial conditions. They have used these tools to produce the antimalarial drug artemisinin, a variety of commodity and specialty chemicals, and biofuels.