The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) announced today that Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, Chief Executive Officer of the innovative carbon recycling company LanzaTech, has been selected by a committee of her peers to be the recipient of the 2015 BIO Rosalind Franklin Award. The Rosalind Franklin Award was established by BIO to honor an outstanding woman in the field of industrial biotechnology.
”To be honored in this way is incredibly humbling for me,” said Dr. Holmgren. “Throughout my career, I’ve been surrounded by teams, partners and investors who believe we can challenge the status quo and create an energy future that isn’t at odds with society or the environment. It is through that shared vision and collective wisdom that we are able to use industrial biotechnology to move forward on a path to the sustainable and equitable energy future our planet deserves.”
“Much like Rosalind Franklin, Dr. Jennifer Holmgren has always been motivated by achieving things that others said could not be done. Her drive knows no barriers,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president for BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. “BIO is pleased to honor Dr. Holmgren for her accomplishments in the field of industrial biotechnology. We are looking forward to her delivering what is anticipated to be inspiring remarks during BIO’s World Congress.”
“The Rosalind Franklin Society is committed to advancing women’s careers in the life sciences in academia and industry. BIO’s establishment of the Rosalind Franklin Award attests to the importance of opportunities that are rich with potential and achievement in the field of industrial biotechnology,” said Mary Ann Liebert, president of the company that bears her name. The Rosalind Franklin Society was founded by Ms. Liebert in 2009.
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishes Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN); Industrial Biotechnology; and 80 peer reviewed journals. “Dr. Holmgren exemplifies the goals of this honorific society, and we applaud her significant recognition,” said Ms. Liebert.
Rosalind Franklin’s use of X-ray diffraction images led to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953. Her work was published alongside but not recognized as a contributing factor to Francis Crick’s and James Watson’s model of the structure of DNA. BIO’s 2015 Rosalind Franklin Award is sponsored by the Rosalind Franklin Society.
A special selection committee chose Dr. Jennifer Holmgren for her commitment to the advancement of the field of industrial biotechnology. Today, under Dr Holmgren’s guidance, LanzaTech is developing the world’s first alternative jet fuel from industrial waste gases using intermediates derived through industrial biotechnology.
LanzaTech’s process using steel mill waste gases at LanzaTech’s facility in China, with Shougang has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB).
LanzaTech’s technology for producing fuel ethanol from steel mill off gases is ready for commercial deployment today. A 17M Gallons per annum commercial facility is planned for construction in Q4 2015, with China Steel in Taiwan, with the intention to scale up to a 34M Gallon per annum unit thereafter.
Dr Holmgren’s team has defined the genetic blueprint of gas fermenting organisms and demonstrated in the laboratory that they can be engineered to produce a range of novel, commercially valuable molecules. LanzaTech’s work is a cornerstone for the development of an entire industry that uses gas fermentation to convert a variety of wastes or low value resources into a diverse spectrum of low carbon fuels and chemicals.
Prior to joining LanzaTech, Dr. Holmgren was VP and General Manager of the Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit at UOP LLC, a Honeywell Company. She was one of the key drivers of UOP’s leadership in aviation biofuels, and under her management, UOP technology became instrumental in producing nearly all of the initial fuels used by commercial airlines for testing and certification of alternative aviation fuel for passenger flights and the military. These test flights brought tremendous visibility to the potential of renewable aviation fuel and the role of biotechnology in feedstock development.
Dr. Jennifer Holmgren holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Harvey Mudd College, a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago. She is the author or co-author of 50 US patents and 20 scientific publications and was named as one of the top 10 most influential leaders in the Biofuels Industry by Biofuels Digest for 2013-2014.
The 2015 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology will be held July 19-22, 2015 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Montréal, Canada. Industrial Biotechnology (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers) Journal is the official publication for the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology. The Rosalind Franklin Society is sponsoring the award.
All programs at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology are open to attendance by members of the media. Complimentary media registration is available to editors and reporters working full time for print, broadcast or web publications with valid press credentials.
LanzaTech’s proprietary gas fermentation technology provides novel and economic routes to fuels and high-value chemicals from waste carbon streams. By leveraging waste resources, LanzaTech’s solutions mitigate carbon emissions without adversely impacting food or land security. Founded in New Zealand, LanzaTech has raised more than US$200 million from investors including Khosla Ventures, K1W1, Qiming Venture Partners, Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, Petronas, Mitsui, Primetals, China International Capital Corp and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.
About The Rosalind Franklin Society
The Rosalind Franklin Society is an honorific, interdisciplinary, and international society which recognizes, fosters, and advances the important contributions of women in the life sciences and affiliated disciplines. In so doing, the Society honors the under-recognized achievements of the late Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958), a British x-ray crystallographer whose work producing x-ray images of DNA was crucial in the discovery of its structure by James Watson and Francis Crick. Franklin symbolizes progress for women in science but her accomplishments were not recognized during her lifetime, awarded posthumously, nor are they completely acknowledged today. To celebrate the life, work, and symbolic power of this remarkable heroine in science, the Society recognizes the work of outstanding women scientists, fosters greater opportunities for women in the sciences, and motivates and educates by examples young generations of women who have this calling.
BIO is the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.