Friday, August 14, 2015

BESC creates microbe that bolsters isobutanol production

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 14, 2015 – Another barrier to commercially viable biofuels from
sources other than corn has fallen with the engineering of a microbe that improves isobutanol yields by a factor of 10.

The finding of the Department of Energy’s BioEnergy Science Center, published in the journal Metabolic Engineering, builds on results from 2011 in which researchers reported on the first genetically engineered microbe to produce isobutanol directly from cellulose.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New ORNL hybrid microscope offers unparalleled capabilities

A microscope being developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National
Laboratory will allow scientists studying biological and synthetic materials to simultaneously observe chemical and physical properties on and beneath the surface.

The Hybrid Photonic Mode-Synthesizing Atomic Force Microscope is unique, according to principal investigator Ali Passian of ORNL’s Quantum Information System group. As a hybrid, the instrument, described in a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology, combines the disciplines of nanospectroscopy and nanomechanical microscopy.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Interview with Dr. Jan Westpheling

Dr. Jan Westpheling: Fueling Up on Inspiration Investigating How Bacteria Can Facilitate Biofuel Production

Dr. Jan Westpheling is a Professor of Genetics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
at the University of Georgia. She received her B.S. degree in Microbiology from Purdue University. Jan worked as a  Research Technician at Eli Lilly before going back to graduate school to earn her Ph.D. in Genetics from the John Innes Institute. She worked for a year for Biogen in Geneva, conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard University, and served on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School before joining the faculty at the University of Georgia where she is today. Jan is a two-time recipient of the Creative Research Medal from the University of Georgia, and she served as a Member of the National Research Council Committee on the Development and Acquisition of Medical Countermeasures against Biological Warfare Agents in 2005. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

BESC, Mascoma develop revolutionary microbe for biofuel production

Biofuels pioneer Mascoma LLC and the Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center
have developed a revolutionary strain of yeast that could help significantly accelerate the development of biofuels from nonfood plant matter.

The approach could provide a pathway to eventual expansion of biofuels production beyond the current output limited to ethanol derived from corn.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Olivia Thompson - First-generation college student helps fuel development of biomass

Recent college graduate Olivia Thompson studied biofuels at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Volkswagen Distinguished Scholar, where she took part in a national initiative to increase the sustainability and fuel yield of biomass production.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

James Liao of UCLA elected member of the National Academy of Sciences

Dr. James (Jim) C. Liao  has been elected as a new member in the National Academy
of Sciences. 

Dr. Liao is the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Professor of Chemical Engineering in the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of California – Los Angeles
Dr. Liao’s science focuses on:
  • developing the biological production of the liquid fuel isobutanol while simultaneously consuming carbon dioxide.
  • developing different methods to create liquid fuels from electricity and from waste proteins; as well as identifying a more efficient way to convert sugars into fuels.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New ORNL, N.C. State, LanzaTech DNA dataset is potent, accessible tool

Scientists focused on producing biofuels more efficiently have a new powerful dataset to help them study the DNA of microbes that fuel bioconversion and other processes.

In a paper published in Nature Scientific Data, researchers from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, North Carolina State University and LanzaTech describe methods and results for sequencing the Clostridium autoethanogenum bacterium. These and other microorganisms play important roles in biofuels, agriculture, food production, the environment, health and disease.