Blake A. Simmons
Joint BioEnergy Institute
Dr. Blake Simmons joined Sandia National Laboratories in 2001 as a Senior Member of the Technical Staff, serving as a member of the Materials Chemistry Department. He participated on and led a variety of projects, including the development of cleavable surfactants, enzyme engineering for biofuel cells, microfluidics, and the synthesis of silicate nanomaterials. He was promoted to Manager of the Energy Systems Department in 2006. The primary focus of the department was the development of novel materials-based solutions to meet the nation’s growing energy demands. He is one of the principal co-investigators of the Joint BioEnergy Institute, a $259M, ten-year 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 Vice-President of the Deconstruction Division at JBEI, where he leads a team of 43 researchers working on advanced methods of liberating fermentable sugars and lignin from lignocellulosic biomass. He is also the Senior Manager of Biofuels and Biomaterials Science and Technology at Sandia, where he also serves as the Biomass Program Manager. He has over 220 publications, book chapters, and patents. His work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the KQED televised science program quest.
Biofuel cells, nanophotonic materials, microfluidics, nanofluidics, desalination, biomineralization and enzyme engineering. Most recently, he has been studying enzymes isolated from extremophile organisms that could be applied to the deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass into biofuel material.