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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.
Dr. Brigmon received his BS in Microbiology and PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida, Gainesville. Dr. Brigmon has over 40 years of research expertise in environmental engineering, bioremediation, nanomaterials for antimicrobial applications, toxicology and microbiology. Currently, as a Senior Fellow Engineer in the Savannah River National Laboratory Advanced and Bio Materials Group Dr. Brigmon oversees several applied research and development projects funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), US Department of Agriculture, and the National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA). These projects include monitoring microbial corrosion in high level processing and waste storage facilities, evaluating the effects of tritium on the soil biome and its restoration potential, and the role of microbial biosurfactants in uranium mobility in SRS soils. Dr. Brigmon is a subject matter expert on Legionella pneumophila in cooling towers and currently is responsible for monitoring 20 cooling towers at SRS for this disease-causing microorganism. Dr. Brigmon serves as Chair of the SRS Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). He is an Adjunct Professor in the Clemson University Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences and the University of South Carolina. Dr. Brigmon has over 93 peer reviewed publications, 36 technical reports, and four patents. He currently has international bioremediation project collaborations ongoing in Canada and Colombia. Dr. Brigmon serves as an instructor on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), US Department of State (DoS) as well as the US Department of Defense (DOD), and has received letters of commendation for his work. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Clemson University Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences and the University of South Carolina.
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.