Blake A. Simmons | AIChE

Blake A. Simmons

Division Director
Biological Systems & Engineering, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


A significant focus in my research program at the Joint BioEnergy Institute is the development of new scientific insights and novel technologies for biomass deconstruction, the process of breaking down and fractionating lignocellulos into targeted intermediates through the use of ionic liquids. This includes the development of microbes and enzymes that can tolerate and operate efficiently in the presence of these ionic liquids, and the advent of consolidated conversion operations in order to produce a scalable, sustainable, and affordable technology suitable for deployment in a biorefinery.

Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing

While the 21st century will undoubtedly be recognized for advances in the biological and life sciences, another important element in magnifying the positive impacts of these advances is to enable the US bioeconomy, especially in the realms of developing advanced biomanufacturing technologies to replace and displace current manufacturing techniques that are energy intensive and have a negative effect on the environment. My goal is to mature the science of biotechnology and synthetic biology into a BioFoundry, and to identify opportunities where biomanufacturing can have a positive impact on cost and sustainability profiles relative to conventional manufacturing approaches.

Nanotechnology and Nanostructured Materials

Another significant research interest is the development of templated nanomaterials that provide a superior performance attributes relative to bulk materials. I have worked with surfactant-based approaches for the production of tailored nanostructures with unique properties as semiconductors, photocatalysts, catalysts, and energy storage materials.