By George: BIO Announces Jay Keasling its 2013 George Washington Carver Award Winner

  • Contact: Colleen Lerro
  • Phone: 202-470-5207
  • Email: clerro@bio.org
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Chemical Engineering Professor at University of California, Berkeley Honored for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) named Dr. Jay Keasling as the recipient of its 2013 George Washington Carver Award for innovation in industrial biotechnology.

A panel selected Keasling, a professor of biochemical engineering at University of California, Berkeley; associate laboratory director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute; and director of Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center, for his contributions to the field of synthetic biology promoting the use of engineering microbes to produce biofuels, medicines and even cosmetic compounds from simple ingredients like sugar cane and grasses.

Keasling will receive the award and deliver a keynote address during a June 18 plenary lunch session at BIO’s 10th Annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology. The conference is being held at the Palais des congrès de Montréal. 

"I am honored to receive the 2013 George Washington Carver Award for contributing to research and commercialization of synthetic biology," Keasling said. "I truly believe that through synthetic biology all petroleum-based products can be produced from sugar-based microbes resulting in cleaner processes and slowing global warming."

The award is named after Carver, one of the founding fathers of the chemurgy movement, a branch of applied chemistry focused on preparing industrial products from raw agricultural materials. Biotechnology is the modern-day equivalent, and the award honors individuals for carrying on Carver’s legacy.

"The field has developed in ways that Carver may never have imagined, but the work of industrial biotech companies remains true to the goal of a sustainable bio-economy," said Brent Erickson, executive vice president for BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. “BIO is pleased to honor Keasling for his break-through work in synthetic biology. Using synthetic biology, Keasling is developing processes that commercialize replacements for petroleum-based products consumers use every day from hard plastics and paints to soda bottles, cosmetics and car tires.”

Past recipients of the Carver Award are Dr. Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo, Inc., in 2008; Charles O. Holliday, Jr., chairman of the board of DuPont in 2009; Gregory Stephanopoulos, the Willard Henry Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010; Feike Sijbesma, CEO of Royal DSM in 2011; and Steen Riisgaard, president and CEO of Novozymes in 2012.

Registration is now open for the 2013 BIO World Congress coming to Montréal, Canada, June 16-19 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal. Please visit http://www.bio.org/worldcongress/ for additional information, or email worldcongress@bio.org. It’s the world’s largest industrial biotechnology conference for business leaders, investors, academics and policymakers in biofuels, biobased products, renewable chemicals, synthetic biology, food ingredients and biomass.

Online pre-registration for reporters and editors is now open. All breakout and plenary sessions at the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology are open to attendance by members of the media. Complimentary media registration is available to editors and reporters with valid press credentials working full time for print, broadcast or web publications.

About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.