Structural Biology

The Structural Biology Group uses high resolution X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy to understand the atomic structure of proteins involved in the production of biofuels and bioproducts. Atomic resolution structures, when combined with genomic and biochemical data, can provide a mechanistic understanding of enzyme activity and specificity. JBEI researchers use this information to help optimize enzymes for the production of biofuels and bioproducts, improving activity and modifying substrate specificities and product profiles.


  • Study the structure function relationships of plant lignin synthesis enzymes with the Feedstocks Division
  • Determine the structures of proteins involved in lignin degradation and correlate with biochemical activities in collaboration with the Deconstruction Division and GLBRC
  • Determine the structural basis for Fatty Acid Synthesis in collaboration with the Biofuels and Bioproducts Division
  • Structural studies of Polyketides Synthases in collaboration with the Biofuels and Bioproducts Division

Featured Media

Crystallization Screen Created by JBEI Scientists Reaches the Market

Finding Diamonds in the Rough

New crystallography finding by JBEI and GLBRC benefits bioenergy industry

 JBEI Expert José Henrique Pereira explains how X-ray crystallography is used in biofuels production

New Way to Reduce Plant Lignin Could Lead to Cheaper Biofuels

Berkeley Lab and Joint BioEnergy Institute scientists harness enzyme in effort to cut pretreatment costs


Clearing a Potential Road Block to Bisabolane

Joint BioEnergy Institute Researchers Identify Key Enzyme Structure

JBEI researchers determined the structure of the AgBIS enzyme and found it to consist of three helical domains, the first three-domain structure ever found in a synthase of sesquiterpenes. This discovery holds importance for advanced biofuels and other applications.

Featured Publications

Featured Intellectual Property