Dr. Blake Simmons
Dr. Simmons attended the University of Washington and obtained a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1997. He then attended graduate school at Tulane University and received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 2001. He joined Sandia National Laboratories (Livermore, CA) in 2001 as a Senior Member of the Technical Staff in the Materials Chemistry Department. He was promoted to Manager of the Energy Systems Department in 2006. After 2011, he also served as the Senior Manager of the Advanced Biomanufacturing Group. In 2007, he was one of the principal co-investigators that was awarded the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI, www.jbei.org), a ten year, $259M DOE funded project tasked with the development and realization of next-generation biofuels produced from non-food crops. He is currently serving as the Chief Science and Technology Officer and the Vice-President of the Deconstruction Division at JBEI, where he leads a team on advanced methods of liberating fermentable sugars and aromatic intermediates from lignocellulosic biomass. In 2016, he left Sandia and joined Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as the Director of the Biological Systems and Engineering Division. He has over 300 publications, book chapters, and patents. His work has been featured in the New York Times, BBC, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, Fast Company, and the KQED televised science program Quest.