Core Support

 

The essential tools and technologists that serve the full range of research interests in the EBI offer a rich set of core resources unparalleled among bioenergy research centers. These include a farm dedicated to the production and testing of feedstocks, a set of chemical laboratories and analysts to characterize and manipulate samples and products, and academic experts to synthesize broad-based data and help guide the research efforts of the institute. These resources provide EBI’s nexus for discovery.


The Energy Farm

Location: Urbana, Illinois
Size: 320 acres

Not too far south from the main campus in Urbana-Champaign lies the EBI’s living laboratory—a 320-acre Energy Farm. It is here, the world’s largest outdoor research center devoted to bioenergy crops, where a variety of potential biomass feedstocks are planted, tested, monitored and harvested for both productivity and for environmental impacts. Various grasses and other plants grow side-by-side in heavily instrumented plots as scientists ascertain nutrient requirements, optimal growth conditions, and greenhouse gas implications for species like Miscanthus, switchgrass, prairie grasses, and a selection of wood sources.

Meet the manager

Timothy A. Mies

Tim Mies
Deputy Director-Operations, EBI-Illinois
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
tmies@illinois.edu
1139 Institute for Genomic Biology
1206 W. Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
217-244-8610

 

Tim Mies received his B.S. in Agriculture, with emphasis on agricultural mechanization. He has been manager of the EBI’s 340-acre Energy Farm since 2007, where he coordinates research efforts between the institute’s multiple field programs and assists in the design, implementation, and instrumentation of their research. Prior to that, he was senior research engineering in the Department of Crop Sciences and worked as specialist in Controlled Environment Areas for the University of Maryland, Department of Natural Resource Sciences and Landscape Architecture.

This photo gallery features not only the depth of research, but the beauty of the Energy Farm. Click through and read captions for more detail.


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Bioenergy Analysts

The Bioenergy Analysis Team consolidates the many aspects of science and sociology within the EBI portfolio and provides scenarios that serve as roadmaps for the work of the programs.

Three academic research fellows consolidate the work emerging from the EBI’s broad research portfolio into pathways for success. These big-picture experts integrate the emerging knowledge of bioenergy science, technology, and the sociological impacts of biofuels into helpful scenarios that serve as roadmaps for the work of the EBI programs.

Meet the team

Heather Youngs

Heather Youngs
Senior Analysis Fellow, EBI-Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
hlyoungs@berkeley.edu
312C Energy Biosciences Building
2151 Berkeley Way
Berkeley, CA 94720-5230
510-643-2826

 
Dr. Heather Youngs received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Oregon Graduate Institute (now OHSU) and was an Adjunct Professor of Biology at the University of Portland. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Carnegie Institution Department of Plant Biology at Stanford University (NIH Genome Training Grant) and an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Michigan Technological University, where she is currently an Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry.
 
Her specialties include plant cell wall biosynthesis, carbohydrate chemistry, enzyme structure/function, kinetics, heme peroxidases, and lignin degradation.

 

Ashiwini Bhandiwad

Ashiwini Bhandiwad
Bioenergy Analyst, EBI-Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
ashie@berkeley.edu
Energy Biosciences Building
2151 Berkeley Way
Berkeley, Califonria 94720-5230
781-606-4748

 
Ashwini Bhandiwad is a bioenergy analyst at the Energy Biosciences Institute. Her work focuses on process modeling of various ongoing projects at EBI to understand the impact, synergy and feasibility of each for large-scale implementation. Over the past several years she has worked on various aspects of biofuel production leveraging synthetic biology through a doctorate in engineering from Dartmouth College. In her spare time, she also works with the CleanTech Open, a non-profit accelerator program for cleantech startups.

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Analytical Chemistry

The Analytical Chemistry Team assists EBI researchers in understanding the form and function of biological and chemical materials that are at the heart of biofuels technology development.

Lead Scientist Stefan Bauer and his team of four accomplished research chemists provide technical support for program and project groups in both Illinois and Berkeley. From determination of feedstock composition, to pretreatment and inhibitor analysis, to fermentation of conversion products, the Chemical Analysis Group uses wet chemistry methods, robotic platforms, and high-end analytical machines to help scientists explore multiple facets of the biofuel value chain.

Meet the manager

Stefan Bauer

Stefan Bauer
Analytical Chemistry Manager, EBI-Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
stefan.bauer@berkeley.edu
120A Energy Biosciences Building
2151 Berkeley Way
Berkeley, CA 94720-5230 
510 643-6270

 

Stefan Bauer is a trained Food Chemist and holds a PhD from the University of Muenster, Germany where he focused on the chemical analysis of cuticular waxes of plants. During his postdoc at the Carnegie Institution of Plan Biology at Stanford, CA, he specialized in cloning and characterization of plant wall hydrolytic enzymes. He was the Head of Analytical Laboratory R&D Enteral Nutrition at Fresenius-Kabi in Bad Homburg Germany before joining the EBI in November 2008 as Analytical Lab Manager. Due to his training and experience he is an expert in capillary electrophoresis and many chromatography spectroscopy and mass spectrometry techniques. He supports EBI researchers along the value chain from feedstock and pretreatment to intermediate and product analysis including the supply of well-characterized substrates.


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Lab Facilities

The lab facilities of the two campuses facilitate collaboration between faculty and staff and the advancement of EBI research.

The multiple laboratories on the Illinois and Berkeley campuses dedicated to the work of the EBI require careful stewardship to ensure the safety of the scientists, the reliability of the equipment, and the efficiency of the operations. These critical responsibilities fall primarily to two individuals, whose oversight of personnel and facilities form the framework around which progress in the labs can be made. Their tasks include ordering equipment and supplies for principal investigators; installing, troubleshooting and training researchers on using scientific instruments; understanding and implementing all the environmental and safety policies as they pertain to research work areas; answering questions on a wide variety of research and administrative topics; and keeping things organized and running smoothly despite the diversity of disciplines, tasks and individuals.

Meet the team

Mara Bryan

Mara Bryan
Laboratory Research Manager, Berkeley
mbryan@berkeley.edu
312A Energy Biosciences Building
2151 Berkeley Way
Berkeley, CA 94720-5230
510-642-1487

 

Dr. Mara Bryan has a bachelor's degree in biology from Rice University and a Ph.D. in Fisheries & Wildlife/
Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Behavior from Michigan State University, where she was also a postdoctoral fellow. Her research there focused on understanding the evolution of sex steroid hormones and receptors, using lamprey as a model. Since beginning with the EBI in 2008, she has coordinated laboratory space allocations; has overseen training, use, and maintenance of EBI instrumentation; and has managed supplies and purchasing for the shared labs.  She is also responsible for coordinating two research-related seminar series and the committees that organize professional and social events for the researchers.

Kate Janssen

Kate Janssen
Laboratory Research Manager, Illinois
kjans01s@illinois.edu
1206 W. Gregory Drive
Institute for Genomic Biology M/C 195
1st Floor Lab South
Urbana, IL 61801
217-333-2080

 

Kate Janssen received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in biology at the University of Illinois-Springfield, and she was the Lead Molecular Tech in Immunology and Molecular Pathology for five years at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. For a year prior to joining EBI in 2014, She worked as a Visiting Research Specialist for Dr. Angela Kent, a former EBI principal investigator, in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences.


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