Two Agile BioFoundry Collaborative R&D Projects Receive DOE Awards

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced $73 million for 35 projects in bioenergy research & development, including two that will make use of the Agile BioFoundry’s expertise. 

Funded through the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, these projects will help reduce the price of drop-in biofuels, lower the cost of biopower, and enable high-value products from biomass or waste resources.

The first project, funded for $2.5 million, is a collaboration with UC Berkeley. It will focus on polyketide synthases, which are multi-domain enzymes that can produce organic molecules, including biofuels, commodity chemicals, and specialty chemicals. The project aims to create a Design-Build-Test-Learn (DBTL) cycle for polyketide synthases to demonstrate their ability to produce materials precursors. This cycle could allow engineers to produce biofuels and chemicals, including materials with properties that can’t be found in petroleum-based materials. 

The second project, funded for $1.82 million, is a collaboration with the University of Washington. It will focus on creating multi-gene CRISPR activation/inhibition programs to accelerate DBTL cycles in Agile BioFoundry host organisms that are engineered for chemical production. The project aims to improve the ability to engineer bacteria to produce industrial chemicals from lignocellulosic feedstocks.