Yasuo Yoshikuni, Ph.D. is head of the Synthetic Biology - DNA Synthesis Science Program at the United States Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI). Dr Yoshikuni’s research focus is to discover novel secondary metabolites and to study their roles in microbial-microbial and plant-microbial communications in various environments. He is currently developing design principles, tools, and methodologies to mine and characterize novel secondary metabolite biosynthetic pathways and component enzymes by leveraging the DOE JGI’s unique resources and capabilities. Prior to joining at the DOE JGI, Dr. Yoshikuni was a co-founder and Chief Science Officer at a clean technology start-up, Bio Architecture Lab, Inc. where his significant achievement was using synthetic biology to develop the first microbial platform technologies enabling to unlock the potential of macroalgae as highly environmentally sustainable and cost-effective biomass for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals. The development of this technology allowed the company to raise $40 million from private funding sources, receive prestigious national grants and build a commercial partnership with leading companies in the oil and chemical industries. The work also led to several high impact scientific publications including Nature and Science. He completed his Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley with Professor Jay D. Keasling. He then pursued a postdoctorate as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Jane Coffin Child’s memorial fellow at University of Washington, Seattle, with Professor David Baker.
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