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2015 BIO World Congress George Washington Carver Award Recipient:  Jonathan S. Wolfson, Chief Executive Officer, Solazyme

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) named Solazyme CEO Jonathan S. Wolfson as the recipient of its 2015 George Washington Carver Award for innovation in industrial biotechnology. George Washington Carver was one of the founding fathers of the chemurgy movement, a branch of applied chemistry focused on manufacturing industrial products from raw agricultural materials. Industrial biotechnology is the modern-day equivalent of Carver’s vision for chemurgy, and the award honors individuals for carrying on Carver’s legacy.

“BIO is pleased to recognize Jonathan for his determination to provide solutions to some of today’s greatest challenges in energy, nutrition and industrials. Just like George Washington Carver, Jonathan wants others to live better by having access to healthier foods, better home and personal care products, and more sustainable, cheaper fuel,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president for BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section.

“Jonathan S. Wolfson’s commitment to this industry matches that of George Washington Carver.  The innovation he has demonstrated throughout his career makes him very worthy of the recognition attached to this award,” said Joe Hrdlicka, Executive Director of the Iowa Biotechnology Association. 

A special selection committee chose Wolfson for his vision to take one of the smallest organisms in the world – microalgae – and use it to revolutionize some of the biggest industries in the world. Solazyme’s revolutionary biotechnology platform enhances the oil-producing nature of microalgae at the cellular level to tailor-make amazing oil profiles that the world has never seen before. 

The company’s sustainable algal oils can replace petroleum-based and other unsustainable oils widely used in many industries today. Solazyme’s algal oils have a lower carbon footprint than nearly all natural oils– including fossil fuels, palm, palm kernel, soybean and sunflower oils. The company is able to turn plant-based sugars – like sucrose from sugar cane and dextrose from corn – into entirely new sources of healthy food ingredients in a matter of days.

Jonathan has positioned Solazyme to succeed across a variety of vertical industries – from skincare to food, from industrials to liquid fuels – with many of the world’s leading brands lining up to co-develop and purchase Solazyme oils, making the company first to market with algae-based ingredients for chemicals and biofuel.

About the Award

The BIO George Washington Carver Award was created to recognize significant contributions by individuals in the field of industrial biotechnology and its application in biological engineering, environmental science, biorefining and biobased products.  This award emphasizes the important goal of using biotech innovation to develop sustainable bio-based value-chains.  By honoring those who have worked successfully toward this goal in the private sector, government or academia, this award will serve as a lasting memorial to the original vision of George Washington Carver who, over a century ago, pioneered the creation and commercialization of sustainable biobased products and materials and energy derived from renewable agricultural feedstocks.

 To learn more about George Washington Carver and the past winners of the award click here.

With the support of the Iowa Biotech Association—the award sponsor—BIO will present Mr. Wolfson with the George Washington Carver Award during the Monday, July 20th plenary lunch session.