Lygos engineers microbes to convert sugars into high-value, industrial chemicals.
A decade ago, a group of biologists, venture capitalists and computer whizzes gathered under the name “clean tech.” They hoped to overturn polluting industries with microorganisms cheerily excreting industrial chemicals through the miracle of reprogramming nature’s genetic code.
Lygos uses microbugs to convert low-cost sugar into specialty chemicals used in manufacturing, and is now releasing a technique to make malic acid, an ingredient needed in the mass production of electronics.
The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will invest nearly $6.7 million in this first round of projects. A total of 33 small businesses were selected to participate in the first round of DOE’s new pilot.
Jeffrey's expertise lies in metabolic engineering and development of high-throughput screening methods for improving production of small molecules. Some of Dr. Dietrich's primary responsibilities at Lygos include directing Lygos' strain optimization efforts, identifying new product opportunities, developing Lygos' intellectual property portfolio, and fund raising. Dr. Dietrich earned his BS in Bioengineering from Rice University and PhD in the same field from the UC Berkeley - UC San Francisco Joint Graduate Program in Bioengineering; additionally, Dr. Dietrich obtained his minor in business through the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
At Lygos, Dr. Steens' primary responsibilities include establishing strategic vision, managing partnership and customer development, process commercialization, product development and fund raising. Dr. Steen is an expert in optimizing sugar to product conversion efficiency, and prior to co-founding Lygos he led efforts to engineer yeast for the conversion of sugars into fuels and chemicals at the Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute; these technologies resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications and patents, which are in various stages of commercialization. Dr. Steen earned a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University in Providence, RI and a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco. While in graduate school, Dr. Steen completed a program in Management of Technology at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.