| Laura Schultz
Our graduate students and postdoctoral researchers play an enormous role in the transition to a sustainable, resilient, and affordable energy future that is centered on social and economic equality. From lab experiments to field work to classrooms, these leaders of today and tomorrow are our catalysts for energy discovery. In this new series, we learn more about what inspired these talented researchers, what brought them to their field of study, and the questions that drive their work at GLBRC.
| Jill Sakai
GLBRC researcher and University of Wisconsin–Madison biochemistry assistant professor Vatsan Raman describes a new computation-guided method to optimize the design of split protein systems that can be used to monitor and regulate biological activity.
| Massie S. Ballon, Joint Genome Institute
Combining field data with a reference switchgrass genome, a multi-institutional research team has been able to associate climate adaptations with switchgrass biology, information that could be useful toward the DOE’s interest in harnessing the crop toward producing sustainable alternative fuels.
| Kelly April Tyrrell
Kiley was nominated for distinguished contributions to understanding mechanisms that regulate E. coli’s lifestyle in different oxygen environments, specifically how transcription factors exploit iron-sulfur metal centers for oxygen responses.
| Cameron Rudolph
Landis was nominated for distinguished contributions to the field of ecology, particularly for uncovering the role of landscape structure in regulating insect biodiversity and ecosystem services.
| Mark E. Griffin

Some microbes are skilled at turning plants into biofuels and useful chemicals. Persuade them to do this efficiently enough, and you have the foundation of a bioenergy refinery that generates fuels and chemicals from renewable sources rather than fossil fuels.

| Jill Sakai
Keegstra Fellow Jianping Li is working with Reid Van Lehn and Christos Maravelias to develop a computational framework for designing solvent and extraction processes to separate and recover bioproducts from biomass.
| Matt Wisniewski
The most promising microbes for making fuels and chemicals from plant material have broad appetites and biosynthetic potential but have not been widely studied in research labs. In three recent studies, scientists report crucial information on how to control genes in unique and promising biosynthetic microbes.
| Massie S. Ballon, Joint Genome Institute

Despite advances in sequencing technologies and computational methods in the past decade, researchers have uncovered genomes for just a small fraction of Earth’s microbial diversity. Because most microbes cannot be cultivated under laboratory conditions, their genomes can’t be sequenced using traditional approaches.

| Mary Magnuson

For farmers struggling against economic forces and doing everything they can to keep afloat, grassland biodiversity may be the last thing they want to worry about.