Douglas S. Clark is currently Dean of the College of Chemistry and Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a Faculty Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and holds the endowed G.N. Lewis Chair. Prior to his appointment as dean, Clark served as Department Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Executive Associate Dean in the College of Chemistry. Clark has been a faculty member at Berkeley since 1986. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1983 and a B.S. in Chemistry, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Vermont in 1979.
Clark's research interests are in biochemical engineering, with particular emphasis on biocatalysis, biomaterials, and bioenergy. Underlying these general topics is a longstanding interest in microorganisms from extreme environments (“extremophiles”) and extremophilic enzymes. Current and past projects in Clark’s research group include the structural characterization and activation of enzymes in non-aqueous reaction media, with the goal of overcoming process limitations imposed by aqueous conditions; the development of enzyme- and cell-based microscale systems for high-throughput biocatalysis and bioactivity screening; protein design and assembly for the formulation of advanced biomaterials with unique structural and functional properties; and enhanced conversion of lignocellulosic feedstocks to biofuels.
Clark translated the use of combinatorial biocatalysis into commercial practice by co-founding the drug discovery company EnzyMed, Inc. His development of protein and cellular arrays has enabled high-throughput biosynthesis and activity/toxicity screening of potential drugs; this technology was also the basis of a startup company.
Among his numerous honors and awards, including election into the National Academy of Engineering in 2019, Clark is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Medical and Biomedical Engineers; he is the recipient of the James E. Bailey Award from the Society of Biological Engineering; the Marvin J. Johnson Award in Microbial and Biochemical Technology from the American Chemical Society; the Food, Pharmaceutical, and Bioengineering Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; the Amgen Award in Biochemical Engineering; the International Enzyme Engineering Award; and the NorCal Chemical Engineering Award—Industrial Research. He has also received the Departmental Chemical Engineering Teaching Award and the Presidential Young Investigator Award (National Science Foundation). Since 1995 Clark has served as Editor in Chief of Biotechnology and Bioengineering, and he is currently on the editorial boards of Enzyme and Microbial Technology and Extremophiles.