In the Biofuels and Bioproducts division, we are developing the tools to fully convert sugars and lignins into energy-rich biofuels and valuable bioproducts. We do this by discovering and developing new pathways and engineering microbes. JBEI’s pioneering work in synthetic biology has enabled microbes to produce a variety of molecules from these lignocellulosic biomass that can serve as jet, diesel, and gasoline blendstocks and bioproducts.
Five year Research Objectives
- Establish a broad platform to optimize and select pathways to diverse biofuels and bioproducts
- Develop microbial hosts to maximize utilization of biomass components
- High-throughput and predictive tools to systematically increase TRY and enhance scale-up
To achieve these goals, we will:
- Develop and optimize metabolic pathways for biofuels and bioproducts production
- Optimize host organisms to utilize all biomass sugars and aromatics, and efficiently convert them to fuels and bioproducts
- Develop synthetic biology and systems biology tools for engineering biology
- Develop computational methods to model microbial metabolism through genome scale models, flux-based mechanistic models and machine learning
- Using chemical catalysis to enhance biological conversion
For this purpose, we will engineer metabolically versatile organisms, such as Pseudomonas putida, Rhodosporidium toruloides, and other microbes. We are using the latest, most advanced tools of biotechnology including synthetic biology, systems biology, metabolic engineering, machine learning, data science and metabolic modeling to engineer new biochemical pathways for the production of fuel molecules and chemicals that are currently derived from petroleum. The goal is to produce fuels and other valuable chemical products from simple, inexpensive and renewable starting materials in a sustainable manner.