Sandia LabNews

Everyone's reading about JBEI

Two articles on the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), published in ACS Chemical Biology and written by members of the DOE JBEI leadership team, are among the most-accessed ACS Chemical Biology articles for the first quarter of 2008. “Synthetic Biology for Synthetic Chemistry” heads the list of most-accessed articles, while “Addressing the Need for Alternative Transportation Fuels: The Joint BioEnergy Institute” is fifth on the list.

“Synthetic Biology for Synthetic Chemistry” was written by Jay Keasling, JBEI’s chief executive officer and the director of the Physical Biosciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The article discusses the intersection of synthetic biology and synthetic chemistry in creating new energy sources, producing new drugs, and remediating polluted sites. The article reviews some of the most important tools for engineering bacterial metabolism and the use of these tools to produce artemisinin, an antimalarial drug, at a low cost.

Sandia’s Blake Simmons (8755) is a coauthor of “Addressing the Need for Alternative Transportation Fuels: The Joint BioEnergy Institute.” The other authors are Harvey Blanch (University of California, Berkeley), Paul Adams (Berkeley Lab), Katherine Andrews-Cramer (ChemGenuity), Wolf Frommer (Stanford University), and Keasling. This article examines the potential of biomass as a renewable resource for high-energy-content transportation fuel and the possibility that this fuel may be carbon neutral over its complete life cycle.

Blake, who serves as vice president of JBEI’s Deconstruction Division and heads up the Energy Systems department at Sandia/California, describes this accomplishment as “more good news on JBEI, indicating that interest is very high in the ongoing research programs at this DOE-funded institute.”

For more information on JBEI, see the article “Sandia to play key role in Bay Area-based DOE bioscience center” in the July 6, 2007, issue of

Sandia Lab News, or visit To see the full list of most-accessed articles, go to, and choose “ACS Chemical Biology.”