U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

BER-Funded Scientist Profiled in The Scientist for Metabolic Engineering Work
Published: April 04, 2005
Posted: April 15, 2005

The March 28, 2005, issue of The Scientist profiles Dr. Jay Keasling of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley for designing and reengineering the common bacterium E. coli to produce arteminesin, a powerful anti-malarial compound. Arteminesin is a highly effective anti malarial drug that is expensive and difficult to make in conventional ways. Keasling, with support (in part) from the Office of Biological and Environmental Researchs Genomics:GTL program, has been studying how to design and reengineer a bacteriums natural abilities to metabolize nutrients into various products; in this way, he can engineer a bacterial cell into a micro-manufacturing plant for a valuable product that the cell, left to its own devices, would not be able to make. Given the impact of malaria on less developed countries, (1.5 million deaths annually), the Keasling approach not only could benefit people in areas endemic with malaria but may also be useful at enabling microbial production of a variety of other useful and valuable compounds including those with direct GTL relevance. Recently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided $42.6 million towards a public-private partnership, built around Keasling's progress, to develop bacterially synthesized arteminesin and following commercialization and regulatory clearance, get it to clinical application where it is needed most.

Contact: Dan Drell, SC-23.1, (301) 903-4742
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: Biosystems Design
  • Cross-Cutting: Lectures, Awards, and Recognition

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-23.1 Life Sciences Division, OBER)


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