May 5, 2021
We’re Hiring! – EBRC Science Policy Postdocs
The Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) and UC Berkeley are seeking postdoctoral scholars interested in science policy. Postdocs will leverage their previous training to work with EBRC programs and to conduct an individual research project.
Click here to learn more.
Special Opportunity – Bioeconomy Assessment, Influence, and Impact
The EBRC postdoctoral scholar(s) will contribute to an analysis of the bioeconomy landscape in the US and opportunities and strategies to strengthen and grow the engineering biology sector of the economy. The postdoc will conduct interviews and reviews of literature and data to assess the capacity, participation, and potential impact of engineering biology tools, technologies, products, and people to influence production and consumption of a variety of resources. The postdoc can expect to gain significant experience in science policy analysis, writing, and communication.
April 7, 2021
With the growth of EBRC and its latest establishment of the BioMADE Manufacturing Innovation Institute, I am incredibly pleased to (re)introduce Dr. India Hook-Barnard as the next Executive Director of EBRC.
India has been a Senior Advisor with EBRC for the last several months and will now be taking over the day-to-day direction and operations of the Consortium. She has deep experience working across industry, government and academia to establish cross-sectoral programs in areas highly relevant to engineering biology. As part of this transition, she’s looking forward to connecting with EBRC’s members and government sponsors to discuss your priorities and our joint opportunities to advance engineering biology goals. I look forward to working with her to grow EBRC’s impact and grow the impact of our field.
Prior to joining EBRC, India was Senior Advisor to the Beyond 2020: A Vision and Pathway for NIH Working Group, and Senior Vice President for Patient Outcomes and Experience at the National Marrow Donor Program. Before that, she served as the inaugural Executive Director of the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine and as the Director of Research Strategy at the University of California, San Francisco. Earlier in her career, India worked at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine focusing on issues of emerging science and technology, including synthetic biology, precision medicine, biosecurity and biodefense. She earned her PhD in Microbiology—Medicine from the University of Missouri, and continued to study the regulation of gene expression in bacteria and phage during her postdoctoral fellowship at the NIH. India brings a wealth of experience to EBRC and we’re happy to have her join the team.
Reporting through the president to the board, India will oversee all EBRC staff and programs, develop and lead new initiatives, and be your primary EBRC point of contact. India is taking this role at a key time for EBRC: we now have a significant number of ongoing programs and will be up to 10 team members by summer. I will remain actively involved as president by participating in strategic initiatives and key projects.
Thank you for your engagement with EBRC and I look forward to continuing our work together.
April 6, 2021
Tatenda Shopera, an alum of EBRC member Tae Seok Moon‘s lab, is among the researchers who developed one of the first COVID-19 vaccines at Pfizer. Shopera was highlighted in Washington magazine. Click here to read the full article.
March 31, 2021
Drew S. Tack, Peter D. Tonner, Abe Pressman, Nathanael D. Olson, Sasha F. Levy, Eugenia F. Romantseva, Nina Alperovich, Olga Vasilyeva, and David Ross. Molecular Systems Biology
March 31, 2021
James F. Pelletier, Lijie Sun, Kim S. Wise, Nacyra Assad-Garcia, Bogumil J.Karas, Thomas J.Deerinck, Mark H.Ellisman, Andreas Mershin, Neil Gershenfeld, Ray-Yuan Chuang, John I.Glass, Elizabeth A. Strychalski. Cell
March 19, 2021
EBRC Statement of Solidarity with Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders
Over the past year, we have seen an alarming surge of racism and violence against Asians and Asian Americans. EBRC joins the voices across the United States condemning the vile, racist acts in Georgia that took the lives of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng. These individuals, six of whom were women, were the targets of the misogyny and racial hatred that we must confront head-on.
The escalation of acts against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders is the latest in a disturbing series of events we’ve seen over the past months. As we all have fewer personal interactions than we did a year ago, it is evermore important to commit to intervene in the face of bigotry and xenophobia. We stand with our Asian and Asian American family members, friends, and colleagues. Acts of violence targeted against any group weaken us as a community, weaken us as a nation, and weaken the world as a whole.
As EBRC speaks out to condemn these acts, we restate that diversity, inclusion, equality, and justice are among our core values. We seek to solve national and global challenges through engineering biology; that will only be possible by celebrating and protecting the diversity of our community that enables globally engaged research. Last summer, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, EBRC launched an effort to take action to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in our field. Today, we commit to redouble our efforts and bring necessary anti-racism and anti-discrimination tools to our community to combat these injustices directly.
October 20, 2020
Bioindustrial Manufacturing And Design Ecosystem
We are excited to announce that we have been selected to establish the Department of Defense’s Bioindustrial Manufacturing Innovation Institute. You can find some initial information below and we encourage you to subscribe for updates.
U.S. Department of Defense awards $87.5 million to EBRC-led BioMADE establishing the Bioindustrial Manufacturing Innovation Institute
EMERYVILLE, Calif. – The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded a Cooperative Agreement to establish the Bioindustrial Manufacturing And Design Ecosystem, or BioMADE. Established by the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC), BioMADE joins eight DoD-sponsored Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MII) as part of the Manufacturing USA network and becomes the 16th institute creating an end-to-end ecosystems for domestic manufacturing to secure America’s future through manufacturing innovation, education, and collaboration. The 7-year award includes $87.5M in federal funds and is being matched by more than $180M from non-federal sources.
“The Department of Defense is committed to promoting U.S. biotechnology innovation and securing America’s bioindustrial base. Through today’s award, we are pleased to work with new partners to accelerate the Department’s biotechnology modernization and the development of this field which is so critical to our Nation’s future security and prosperity,” said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.
For over a century, America has used biology to manufacture products like fuels and solvents. In recent decades, products such as lactic acid have led to the development of renewable plastics not dependent on crude oil. Today, a vast array of renewable products produced by the latest advances in engineering biology are entering nearly every sector of the economy.
“Bridging the gap between lab-scale research and at-scale manufacturing, BioMADE builds an on-ramp to accelerate commercialization of biotechnology inventions originating from American R&D in universities, start-ups, and National Labs. I am grateful to the proposal team of more than 30 companies, 33 universities, 24 community colleges, and 6 nonprofits across 31 states that worked with us to develop a winning proposal” says Douglas Friedman, Executive Director of EBRC and CEO of BioMADE.
Modern biotechnology benefits from a rapid convergence of technologies which historically have not worked in concert. Specifically, biomanufacturing materials at scale with biology requires complex coordination of automation, computational sciences, process engineering, and materials sciences in an environment that promotes safe and equitable deployment of technologies. BioMADE will marshal insights from manufacturers and innovators advancing bioindustrial manufacturing technologies while simultaneously enhancing the structure of this young but robust innovation ecosystem.
Minnesota-based Cargill was an active participant in BioMADE’s development and looks forward to bringing its longstanding biomanufacturing capabilities to the institute. “We are excited that the Department of Defense has selected BioMADE to establish the Bioindustrial Manufacturing Innovation Institute.” says Florian Schattenmann, CTO of Cargill. “We are excited to work with BioMADE and the rest of the industry to identify and innovate on shared challenges in scaleup and downstream processing to further strengthen the US economy in the production of bioindustrial products.”
BioMADE is poised to be headquartered on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota, a top ten U.S. public research university and a leader in chemical engineering, materials science, genomics, computational biology, and high-performance computing.
“We are honored to host BioMADE and believe that this institute will advance a new and significant biomanufacturing innovation ecosystem,” said University President Joan T.A. Gabel. “Our region–the Bold North–is home to 16 Fortune 500 companies and a highly sought-after educated workforce. We anticipate many future industrial biomanufacturing firms being created here, taking advantage of proximity to the agricultural raw materials needed for their production, the depth of talent we offer, and the business infrastructure that already serves related firms like Cargill, General Mills, CHS, and Land O’Lakes.”
Slated to join the University’s soon-to-be-constructed Microbial Cell Production Facility (MCPF), BioMADE’s internal efforts will focus on scale-up and downstream processing of laboratory R&D to commercial production. Working seamlessly with satellite offices in Berkeley, CA and Cambridge, MA, and with partners across the country, BioMADE will focus on catalyzing the creation of a secure domestic supply chain of bioindustrial products.
Zach Serber, CSO and co-founder of Zymergen – a Bay Area science and materials innovation company – says, “Zymergen is thrilled to work with BioMADE to identify industry needs and advance technologies and programs that will help the entire bio economy by bringing innovative, high performance and sustainable products to market faster. The BioMADE team fills an important role in this emerging category; providing proof-of-concept manufacturing capacity and helping develop key capabilities in the manufacturing workforce, both of which are critical to strengthening U.S. competitiveness. We are proud to be a part of this initiative and look forward to working with other partner organizations.”
In addition to its focus on technical innovation, education and workforce development are central to BioMADE’s mission to train and ready a robust domestic workforce for manufacturing jobs across the industry. Collaborating with a national network of biotechnology focussed training institutions and organizations, BioMADE will reach across the educational spectrum and across the country to expand biotechnology training to include biomanufacturing.
A commitment to incorporating ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) will be part of the fabric of BioMADE. All technical, educational, workforce, and community projects will include effort dedicated to relevant ELSI topics. Members will have access to experts in bioethics, biosecurity, biosafety, and other ELSI topics while dedicated ELSI advisors will work alongside BioMADE’s technical and workforce leadership.
“We at EBRC could not have led this team without the critical insights and involvement of our partner institutions, and their commitment to the vision of a thriving public-private solution to advance domestic biomanufacturing,” said Friedman. “Turning to the future, we look forward to an inclusive and comprehensive ecosystem of institutions across the country, unified with the goal of advancing US biomanufacturing capabilities, creating products that are as high performing as they are environmentally sustainable.”
October 14, 2020
Ashty S Karim, Fungmin Eric Liew, Shivani Garg, Bastian Vögeli, Blake J Rasor, Aislinn Gonnot, Marilene Pavan, Alex Juminaga, Séan D Simpson, Michael Köpke, Michael C Jewett. ACS Synthetic Biology.
September 28, 2020
Read EBRC’s response to the DoD’s Request for Information (RFI) on Biotechnology Education and Workforce Development. (August 2020)
August 31, 2020
In February, the SPA welcomed thirteen mentor-mentee pairs to the EBRC Mentorship Program, the largest cohort yet. The Mentorship Program creates one-on-one partnerships between graduate students and postdocs and professional EBRC members from industry, nonprofits, and government.
During the virtual EBRC Annual Meeting in early April, the SPA hosted an entrepreneurship-focused panel about the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The panel featured representatives from NSF, Fannin Innovation Studio, and Lynntech, Inc.
On April 30, the SPA organized an informal virtual Industry Panel and Networking Session with representatives from EBRC member companies LanzaTech, Tierra Biosciences, BASF, and Twist Biosciences. The event included a panel discussion and networking with the panelists about their careers in the biotechnology industry.
The SPA is working on growing it’s interactive members. We encourage graduate students and postdocs to apply for SPA membership here.
August 24, 2020
Activation of Energy Metabolism through Growth Media Reformulation Enables a 24-Hour Workflow for Cell-Free Expression
Max Z. Levine, Byungcheol So, Alissa C. Mullin, Rob Fanter, Kayla Dillard, Katharine R. Watts, Michael R. La Frano, and Javin P. Oza. ACS Synthetic Biology.
August 20, 2020
You get what you screen for: on the value of fermentation characterization in high-throughput strain improvements in industrial settings
Maren Wehrs, Alexander de Beaumont-Felt, Alexi Goranov, Patrick Harrigan, Stefan de Kok, Sarah Lieder, Jim Vallandingham & Kristina Tyner. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology.
August 19, 2020
Layne C. Williams, Nicole E. Gregorio, Byungcheol So, Wesley Y. Kao, Alan L. Kiste, Pratish A. Patel, Katharine R. Watts and Javin P. Oza. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.
July 13, 2020
Ayaan Hossain, Eriberto Lopez, Sean M. Halper, Daniel P. Cetnar, Alexander C. Reis, Devin Strickland, Eric Klavins & Howard M. Salis. Nature Biotechnology.
June 11, 2020
EBRC and UC Berkeley are seeking postdoctoral scholars interested in science policy. Postdocs will leverage their previous training to work with EBRC programs and to conduct an individual research project in one of EBRC’s focus areas. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis with positions open in the last summer / early fall 2020.
June 10, 2020
We at EBRC have been heartened by the sharing of research and community growth we’ve seen through our virtual seminar series this spring. As such, we are continuing the series through the summer. We invite you to join us! You can see the lineup and register for seminars on our website. When you register, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to join the event. The email also allows you to add seminars to your calendar. The lineup is not yet complete, so do check back regularly.
We would also like you to know that EBRC has decided to postpone tomorrow’s seminar on Enzyme Engineering in recognition of the #ShutDownSTEM movement. We thank tomorrow’s scheduled speakers for their gracious support of this decision and have rescheduled their seminar for Wednesday, June 17 at 1pm Pacific / 4pm Eastern. All current registrants will be automatically transferred; no need to re-register.
#ShutDownSTEM is a grassroots movement creating the time and space for us all to pause from business as usual to consider what actionable steps we can take toward “eradicat[ing] racism and creat[ing] a just, equitable and inclusive STEM field.” The organizers of ShutDownSTEM suggest that during this day, Black academics and STEM professionals take the time they need to heal and prioritize their own needs. The organizers encourage the rest of us to educate ourselves and develop plans for action.
We encourage you to take time tomorrow to think about what you can do individually and in your labs, departments, and organizations to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM. Here are some resources and information from ShutDownSTEM. AAAS has also put together some resources that you might find helpful.
As affirmed last week, EBRC “pledge[s] to leverage our collective will and use our voice to promote required change. We will redouble our efforts to build a united and diverse community that understands the past and identifies continued inequities and injustice in our community; and loudly, persistently, and consistently call out racism in our community.” (Read our full statement here.)
We look forward to actively building that united and diverse community with you, and hope to see you next week when our seminar series resumes in full force with our postponed seminar on Wednesday June 17 in addition to Tuesday June 16’s regularly scheduled seminar.
June 8, 2020
Member Communications Update
Over the past months, EBRC has been considering ways to improve communication with the membership and find ways to have meaningful engagements in the absence of in person interactions. Along with this, we’ve been considering ways to make it easier to engage in conversations with colleagues in EBRC, especially within our four focus areas.
The BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front)
Trello: We will discontinue using Trello w/ the membership. Those of you on current boards will be removed in the coming days. Please note that some previously sent calendar invites may contain links that may be inactive.
Slack: All EBRC members are invited to join our Slack workspace. Colleagues from industry and government can join Slack at this link using your institutional email address. Individual members are automatically invited. If the email address you primarily use is not listed or you have any other issues, please contact [email protected].
Key elements of the EBRC Slack workspace:
- The EBRC Slack is open to EBRC Individual Members (not students / postdocs) and employees from EBRC Member Companies & Government agencies. EBRC Student & Postdoc Association leadership (SPA Board) are the only lab members on Slack.
- EBRC Council & Working Group members are strongly encouraged to join. Discussion and links around working topics will be included in relevant channels.
- Interact with colleagues across the engineering biology ecosystem between events.
- For further details see our EBRC Slack one-pager.
Google: We will continue to use G Suite (Drive, Docs, Sheets) as we have been.
Email Newsletter: We’re starting a regular monthly newsletter.
Trello: We currently use Trello extensively with the EBRC staff, but it’s seen mixed use with the working groups and committees. The EBRC Slack workspace is intended to replace Trello’s functionality as a platform for discussion, some working group announcements, and links to pertinent documents.
G Suite: EBRC pays for G Suite services (at ebrc.org) and we use it extensively. We plan to keep using it with the working groups and committees and moving some of the positive aspects of Trello to it. For example, dynamic meeting agendas can be captured in a Google Doc vs. Trello card. These documents will be linked in Slack. See next.
Slack: Engagement across the membership, and with the EBRC staff, is important. We would like to try to enable more dialog across the membership on relevant topics. We tried to use Trello cards for this, but it hasn’t worked as robustly as we’d like. With an increasing number of labs / companies using Slack, we will use this platform for discussions in each of the four program areas, and could use it for discussion with (for example) the EBRC Council.
Email Newsletter: We will be putting out a monthly newsletter, starting mid-June. The newsletter will provide useful updates and announcements from EBRC and will supplement information provided through other ways. We realize that some companies won’t be able to use various technology solutions (e.g., Slack or Google), and this will always be accessible.
We look forward to continued engagement and dialogue with you.
June 3, 2020
Statement from EBRC
The EBRC community expresses our sadness, outrage, and pain in the wake of the murders of George Floyd. We stand with those around the country calling for justice and the urgent need to address the deep-seated systemic and institutional racism in our society. Long-standing and persistent anti-Black racism, including in the scientific and engineering community, must be addressed – now.
Diversity, inclusion, and anti-discrimination have been core values of the EBRC since our creation. But we, as an organization, extended community, and society, have not done enough to address the lasting and persistent stains of racism. We hear our Black members, colleagues, friends, and families that experience systemic racism, discrimination, and injustice directly.
We often ask why do we have so few Black colleagues in STEM? We need to be asking what can we do to ensure we have more Black colleagues in STEM? We don’t have to stand by while long-term institutional racism persists in our community. And we won’t.
We call for concerted action to promote justice, equality, and inclusion. We pledge to leverage our collective will and use our voice to promote required change. We will redouble our efforts to build a united and diverse community that understands the past and identifies continued inequities and injustice in our community; and loudly, persistently, and consistently call out racism in our community.
EBRC believes that we can advance engineering biology, and society, through coordination and collaboration. That must include our Black colleagues and doing what we can to ensure their numbers grow and they have the space to thrive.
November 30, 2019
The deadline for applications to the Summer 2020 EBRC Industry Internship Program has been extended to DECEMBER 15, 2019. Applications received on or before Nov. 30 will receive priority review.