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Chris Somerville, Director Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California, Berkeley
Chris Somerville is the Director of the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), a research institute at UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign initiated with a $350M award from the energy company BP (www.energybiosciencesinstitute.org). He is the Philomathia Professor in Alternative Energy at UC Berkeley. He was a professor at Stanford University and director of the Carnegie Institution for Science from 1994-2007 and a professor at Michigan State University from 1982-1993. He has published more than 230 scientific papers and patents in plant and microbial genetics, genomics, biochemistry, and biotechnology.
His current research is focused on the characterization of proteins, such as cellulose synthase, implicated in biomass synthesis and modification. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, The Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Canada and has received numerous scientific awards including the Presidential Green Chemistry Award, and the Balzan Award which he shared with Elliot Meyerowitz (Caltech). He cofounded six scientific journals, and cofounded three biotechnology companies, Mendel Biotechnology, LS9 Inc, and Poetic Genetics.