July 20, 2023
We’re Hiring! – EBRC Science Policy Postdocs
The Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) is 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.
Applications are being accepted for those with interest in the bioeconomy and related technical and policy influences and impacts, and those interested in any of our four focus areas: Technical Research Roadmapping, Security, Education & Workforce Development, and Policy & International Engagement. Applicants with particular knowledge, experience, and/or expertise in one of the five Application and Impact Sectors (i.e., Environment Biotechnology & Climate, Food & Agriculture, Energy, Health & Medicine, Industrial Biotechnology) and/or the four Technical Themes (i.e., Data Science, Engineering DNA, Host Engineering, Biomolecular Engineering) described in EBRC’s Engineering Biology: A Research Roadmap for the Next-Generation Bioeconomy (2019), are encouraged.
You can find more information here!
March 22, 2023
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy just released a new report, Bold Goals for U.S. Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing: Harnessing Research and Development to Further Societal Goals. Focusing on bold goals to advance the American bioeconomy, the report is a product of directions given in Section III of the Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy. The report was informed by, and directly references, the recent policy papers published by EBRC, which can be viewed here.
View the full report here!
December 2, 2022
A series of policy white papers on topics of importance to EBRC members and the engineering biology community that can provide guidance and recommendations to federal agencies tasked with responding to the Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy.
October 19, 2022
“Life Lab” is a podcast series aimed at kids ages 9-12 and their families. Created in collaboration with Tumble Science Podcast for Kids, “Life Lab” is five episodes about engineering biology to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges, featuring EBRC members and leaders in the engineering biology community. Listen here!
September 27, 2022
Just released: Engineering Biology for Climate & Sustainability: A Research Roadmap for a Cleaner Future
The Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) is happy to have released our newest technical research roadmap, Engineering Biology for Climate & Sustainability: A Research Roadmap for a Cleaner Future. The roadmap is available as an interactive website and PDF available at https://roadmap.ebrc.org.
This publication highlights innovative solutions and opportunities in engineering biology to support global efforts to tackle the climate crisis, enable sustainable products and solutions, and grow the circular bioeconomy. The technical roadmap addresses the current state of biotechnology for climate change mitigation and adaptation and ecosystem resilience, and lays out goals and short-, medium-, and long-term milestones for the development of engineering biology tools and technologies for a sustainable future.
Supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, the roadmap was written collaboratively by more than 90 contributors across 56 academic institutions, biotechnology companies, government laboratories, and other organizations. The depth and breadth of this expertise is reflected in the diverse landscape of technologies, processes, and products presented in the roadmap for leveraging engineering biology to address our imminent climate crisis while advancing the bioeconomy. As the U.S. seeks to establish and maintain leadership in the global bioeconomy through the Biden Administration’s Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation, and through the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, this roadmap provides a vision of how that dedication and leadership can ultimately benefit all Americans and our global community.
The technical roadmap focuses on novel, foundational engineering biology capabilities for the:
- Biosequestration of Greenhouse Gases
- Mitigation of Environmental Pollution
- Conservation of Ecosystems and Biodiversity
And engineering biology for climate-friendly, sustainable products and solutions for:
- Food & Agriculture
- Transportation & Energy
- Materials Production & Industrial Processes
The roadmap features case studies that explore the social and nontechnical dimensions associated with some of the roadmap’s potential climate solutions. These case studies were selected to support and encourage the incorporation of ethical, economic, political, and security considerations into the design and pursuit of technical research. The questions and considerations illuminated by these case studies highlight the need for technical and nontechnical stakeholders to work together to secure a sustainable future. The roadmap also contains a contextual glossary of terms and concepts.
July 8, 2022
A collection of six discussions with researchers who work at the interface of synthetic biology and machine learning.
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 16, 2020
YouTube resources for synthetic biology education
Publication Date: September 2019 | Originally published in Synthetic Biology.
EBRC aims to serve as a resource for disseminating educational content and resources for engineering/synthetic biology. This article shares information about the compilation of publicly produced and accessible videos on YouTube for audiences interested in learning more about the field. Six playlists are described in the publication: Synthetic biology overview, Synthetic biology concepts, Synthetic biology teaching or public lectures, Synthetic biology research lectures, Synthetic biology in the lab, and iGEM. These playlists and the resulting publication were created by Aaron Dy, a former EBRC Student and Postdoc Association member, to share with the EBRC and wider community.