Agile BioFoundry Selects New Projects in Partnership with the MSI STEM Research & Development Consortium

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the selection of three external collaborations totaling $1 million to conduct research and development needed to accelerate the U.S. biomanufacturing sector. Investigators at minority serving institutions (MSI) will receive funding to conduct research at their parent institutions. This research will support the advancement of their technologies and position awardees to more fully leverage the BETO-funded Agile BioFoundry (ABF) consortium’s technical capabilities in future projects. 

DOE has selected the following projects: 

  • Calvin Henard, University of North Texas: Development and Validation of CRISPR Interference Genome-Wide Libraries to Enable High-Throughput Single-Carbon Biocatalyst Optimization. Dr. Henard will utilize CRISPRi techniques to augment the capture of so-called C1 feedstocks such as methane, a potent greenhouse gas, for the production of muconic acid and other chemicals.
  • Ezinne Achinivu, University of Illinois Chicago: An Integrated Approach Involving Robust Microbial Communities for Processing Waste into Commercial Bioproducts via Anaerobic Digestion. Dr. Achinivu is leveraging her anaerobic digester research and evolution to optimize microbial communities for the breakdown of various food waste streams and agricultural residues for the production of a variety of short chain carboxylic acids. 
  • Hongyue Jin, University of Arizona: Optimizing Organic Acid Production for Sustainable Bioleaching of Critical Materials. Dr. Jin’s project will focus on identifying and producing specific metabolites for the purposes of decarbonizing the lithium ion battery recycling process, leveraging competitive economics of bioleaching versus their fossil-based analog processes. 

ABF aims to advance biomanufacturing by uniting and expanding the capabilities of the national laboratories. The result is a robust, agile biomanufacturing platform accessible to researchers across the private and public sectors.

ABF partners include Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and more than 30 university and industry partners.