The research in the Keasling Laboratory focuses on the metabolic engineering of microorganisms for degradation of environmental contaminants or for environmentally friendly synthesis. To that end, we have developed a number of new genetic and mathematical tools to allow more precise and reproducible control of metabolism. These tools are being used in such applications as synthesis of biodegradable polymers, accumulation of phosphate and heavy metals, and degradation of chlorinated and aromatic hydrocarbons, biodesulfurization of fossil fuels, complete mineralization of organophosphate nerve agents and pesticides, synthesis of pharmaceuticals, and biofuels production.
In the News
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences today announced the election of 213 new members, including nine UC Berkeley faculty members.
Life-Saving Dividends for Synthetic Biology Research: Microbial-Based Antimalarial Drug Shipped to Africa
A project begun some 13 years ago by Jay Keasling, the Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences at Berkeley Lab and the CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), was culminated with an announcement on August 12 from the partnership of Sanofi, the multinational pharmaceutical company, and PATH, the nonprofit global health organization.
On April 25, World Malaria Day, the nonprofit Zagaya released a video Illustrating why, in the words of UC Berkeley synthetic biologist Jay Keasling, “it took a village” to create an accessible treatment for malaria that will be essential to eradicating the disease.
Twelve years after a breakthrough discovery in his University of California, Berkeley, laboratory, professor of chemical engineering Jay Keasling is seeing his dream come true.
Three UC Berkeley scientists were among a gathering of the nation’s top scientists at the White House this morning (Tuesday, April 2) as President Barack Obama announced a major national initiative to develop new tools to create real-time traffic maps of the human brain.
Jay Keasling, UC Berkeley chemical engineer and leader in the field of synthetic biology, is featured on CNN’s “The Next List” for his work on using microbes to create the next generation of fuel.
The new Bakar Fellows Program is designed to help early-career Berkeley faculty commercialize promising research discoveries.
Joint BioEnergy Institute researchers have developed a dynamic system for regulating metabolic pathways
Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) researchers have developed computer assisted design (CAD)-type tools for engineering RNA components to control genetic expression in microbes. This holds enormous potential for microbial-based production of advanced biofuels, biodegradable plastics, therapeutic drugs and a host of other goods now derived from petrochemicals.
Jay Keasling and his colleagues at the Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered bacteria to turn switchgrass – a hard to digest plant – into gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. This could vastly reduce the cost of producing plant-based fuels to replace fuels from oil and coal.
Jay Keasling, a leading authority on metabolic engineering, envisions a future in which microorganisms are tailor-made to produce specific chemical products, such as biofuels and pharmaceuticals, from inexpensive and renewable starting materials. He has written a paper on the subject for the journal Science.
Bioengineers from the UC Berkeley and Stanford University are ramping up efforts to characterize the thousands of control elements critical to the engineering of microbes so that eventually, researchers can mix and match these "DNA parts" in synthetic organisms to produce new drugs, fuels or chemicals.