Saving the World One Molecule at a Time
Imagine spending most of your work hours researching mold. Taking note of the effects it has to neighboring bacteria and understanding the process which can happen. By fully comprehending the way this organism works, we can reprogram the duties to meet our needs, in this case, turning the single-celled organisms such as bacteria and yeast into tiny chemical factories that can build these compounds from scratch. These bio-engineers are more known as synthetic biologists.
Jay Keasling, a chemical engineer, at the University of California, is the leader of this covenant. He has built a tool kit needed for this operation, and has made it available to his colleagues. He is on his way to solving a real world problems. Keasling success provides three things: Scientists can share, pharmaceutical companies can put patients before profits, and synthetic biology can be force for change. Keasling says, “I see no reason why we can’t completely reimage the chemical industry. We don’t have just accepted what nature gives us.”
Keasling has received many grants from Gates Foundation, British Petroleum or BP, and the US Government. He has collected roughly around $134 million to go toward his studying, although, he will spend over the next five years teaching a team of scientists. He has one task in mind for his students to learn: the creation of cost-effective environmentally friendly biofuels. Auto executives, farmers, and oil giants all have put their money on corn based ethanol, but most scientist who have studied the issue agree that option won’t be sustainable in the long run. Doing this takes too much fertilizer and irrigation and only a portion of the plant is actually gets converted into fuel.
Although some scientists say not even Jay Keasling can save the world with bacteria and yeast, but one thing Keasling is for sure of is for all his foresight one thing he can’t see is obstacles.