Colorado researchers get $9M to 'rewire' E. coli to make biofuels

Ryan Gill, a fellow of CU-Boulder's Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, will lead the research team.
Glenn Asakawa | CU-Boulder

Ryan Gill, a fellow of CU-Boulder's Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, will lead the research team.

A research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder is getting a $9.2 million grant from U.S. Department of Energy to investigate ways to "rewire" E. coli bacteria to produce biofuels.

The team hopes to find ways to re-engineer a non-pathogenic strain of E. coli to produce ethylene and isobutanol, compounds that can be converted in gasoline and other products, and to do so efficiently and inexpensively, CU-Boulder said.

The grant is from the DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research.

The team is led by Ryan Gill, a fellow of CU-Boulder’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, and includes Rob Knight, CU-Boulder associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Pin-Ching Maness, principal scientist at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and Adam Arkin, physical biosciences director at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to take what we have worked on for the past decade to the next level,” Gill said in a statement. “In this project, we will develop technologies that are orders of magnitude beyond where we are currently.”

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