Keasling Receives George Washington Carver Award

Award salutes innovation in industrial biotechnology
June 20, 2013

Contact:  Danielle GrossPhone:    (717) 214-2200Email:

Jay Keasling, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of the Society for Biological Engineering (SBE) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), will receive the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s 2013 George Washington Carver Award. The award will be presented on June 18th at the 10th World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Montreal.

In announcing the prize, the award panel recognized Keasling’s defining contributions to the use of engineered microbes to produce biofuels and medicines from ingredients like sugar cane and grasses. The Carver Award honors George Washington Carver, who pioneered innovation from agricultural materials more than a century ago. Past recipients of the Carver Award include Gregory Stephanopoulos, SBE’s chair and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

At Berkeley, Keasling is a professor in the departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Biochemical Engineering, associate laboratory director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, director of the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center, and chief executive officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute. June Wispelwey, executive director of AIChE and SBE, said, “Dr. Keasling is one of the fathers of synthetic biology.” She added, “He is recognized by the community for his his visionary work in developing drugs to treat malaria and for his leadership in applying metabolic engineering to produce biofuels.”

Keasling received his BS in chemistry and biology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and his MS and PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He joined the Berkeley faculty in 1992. Previous honors include AIChE’s Professional Progress Award for Outstanding Progress in Chemical Engineering.

Established by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in 2004, the Society for Biological Engineering (SBE) is a technological community for engineers and applied scientists integrating biology with engineering. Members of SBE come from a broad spectrum of industries and disciplines and share in SBE’s mission of realizing the benefits of bioprocessing, biomedical and biomolecular applications. For more information, visit

About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 45,000 chemical engineers in 93 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as nanotechnology, sustainability, hydrogen fuels, biological and environmental engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at