Lab Partnering Service Discovery
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Blake Simmons serves as the Chief Scientific and Technology Officer and Vice President of the Deconstruction Division at the US Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville. After earning his BS in chemical engineering from the University of Washington, Dr. Simmons continued his studies at Tulane University and received his doctorate in the same field. Dr. Simmons worked as part of the Senior Management team at Sandia National Laboratories for 15 years, most recently serving as the Senior Manager of Advanced Biomanufacturing as well as the Biomass Program Manager. He joined Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in February of 2016 as the Division Director of Biological Systems and Engineering. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University California-Berkeley and the University of Queensland in Australia. His expertise includes advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals, biomanufacturing, ionic liquids, abiotic-biotic interfaces, biomass pretreatment, enzyme engineering, biofuel cells, templated nanomaterials, microfluidics, desalination, and biomineralization.
Meltem Urgun-Demirtas leads the Bioprocesses and Reactive Separations in Argonne National Laboratory’s Applied Materials Division. The group focuses on re-engineering of plant flow diagram to develop innovative technologies for industrial applications as well as development and application of intensified reactor and separation technologies for bioenergy and bioproducts production, water treatment, and manufacturing. She is also a Fellow at the Northwestern and Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering (NAISE).
Urgun-Demirtas has over 20 years of experience in the design and operation of chemical and bioprocesses, development and scale up of new technologies from bench- to pilot- and field-scale, techno-economic analysis and modeling of processes. Currently, she serves as Argonne’s Program Manager for Bioenergy Technologies Office of DOE which includes sustainability analysis of feedstock and development of new technologies and materials for production of biofuels and bioproducts.
Most recently, Urgun-Demirtas has been working on the development of new processes to produce renewable energy and products from organic waste streams and treatment of wastewater using advanced membrane technologies.
Dr. Laible specializes in Biophysics, with a research emphasis on the metabolic engineering and functional characterization of membrane proteins.
He joined Argonne National Laboratory in 1995 as a post-doc, examining the functional consequences of substitutions in membrane protein complexes of known structure that perform the initial energy and electron transfer reactions in photosynthetic organisms.
He has secured funding from a variety of government and industrial agencies, including the DOE, NIH, DARPA, and pharmaceutical and agribusiness companies. His team specializes in engineered variants of membrane protein complexes for directed abiotic applications, and he has led a large interdisciplinary, inter-institutional effort focused on the design of novel reagents for their stabilization and crystallization.
Activities have recently expanded into the use of the tools that his team has developed in schemes designed to produce next-generation biofuels and bioproducts. He also has long-standing interests in understanding the behavior of microorganisms in communities and regulatory mechanisms involved in energy, nutrient, and carbon utilization. The Argonne team he directs has extensive expertise in microfluidics, biosensors, deep learning, and genetic tools development and collaborates closely with researchers engaged in life-cycle analyses.