Biology is one of the most exciting areas of science and engineering because of its potential to solve a variety of global challenges. The Keasling Lab at the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers who focus on engineering the chemistry inside microbial cells to produce life-saving therapies, clean-burning fuels, and new materials for a variety of applications. We develop metabolic pathways to produce these valuable molecules, engineer genetic systems to control those pathways, develop technologies to make engineering biology easier, and explore fundamental questions in biochemistry and microbial biology.
OUR COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION
Engineering biology is challenging, which is why we believe in fostering a research community with diverse skill sets and worldviews. In the Keasling Lab we strive to create an inclusive environment for all researchers, both native and non-native English speakers. Within JBEI, many of our researchers participate in outreach through iCLEM, which provides an introduction to microbiology for economically disadvantaged high school students. Moreover, many graduate students and postdoctoral researchers will mentor undergraduate students from UC Berkeley. Through our work in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, we aspire to educate the future leaders in synthetic biology.
The Keasling Lab lab harnesses biology to address diverse critical global challenges in the areas of renewable biomanufacturing, human health, and bioenergy. We are a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers working together to engineer microbes to produce drugs, chemicals, and fuels. Our mission is to develop foundational tools for engineering metabolism inside cells and to use those tools to solve important societal problems. We 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. We have used these tools to produce the antimalarial drug artemisinin, a variety of commodity and specialty chemicals, and biofuels.
PUBLICATIONS & PATENTS
The Keasling Lab publishes extensively in peer-reviewed journals. We also patent and license our work so that it can benefit the most people.
ABOUT KEASLING LAB
The Keasling Lab has been part of UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab since 1992. We are comprised of graduate students, postdocs, visiting scholars, and undergraduates from diverse backgrounds. Many of our researchers are part of UC Berkeley’s departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Bioengineering, Plant and Microbial Biology, Chemistry, and Molecular and Cell Biology. In 2005, we moved from the UC Berkeley campus to Potter Street in West Berkeley so that we could grow to take on the artemisinin work. In 2008, we moved once more to establish the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville, a state-of-the-art facility funded by the Department of Energy to develop next-generation biofuels and commodity chemicals.
The Keasling Lab has been funded by several federal and state agencies as well as private foundations and individuals. Our funding supports both fundamental and applied research.
Videos on the Web
Turning sugar into high performance fuel: CNN’s Sanjay Gupta profiles JBEI CEO Jay Keasling on The Next List. CNN Feb. 10, 2013.
Dr. Jay Keasling discusses the promise of biological systems to create carbon-neutral products for a range of applications, including fuels, chemicals and drugs. Dr. Keasling discusses the application of these principles to the development of a microbial platform for the synthesis of artemisinic acid, which has helped stabilize global supply of this anti-malarial drug. He also discusses additional applications of these techniques to fuel production, and discusses some of the current challenges and possible solutions facing the metabolic engineering community.