Jay Keasling is the Hubbard Howe Jr. Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering at UC Berkeley. He is a professor in the UC Berkeley departments of Bioengineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and senior faculty scientist in the Physical Biosciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is the Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), and director of the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC).
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. Toward that end he and his collaborators have developed a number of new genetic and mathematical tools that allow more precise and reproducible control of metabolism that are now being used to produce the anti-malarial drug artemisinin, advanced biofuels, and commodity and specialty chemicals.
Dr. Keasling holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and has been on the UC Berkeley faculty since 1992. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. His 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.