Taylor Weiss to join Arizona State University in August
As a member of the Algae/Water-Food-Energy-Environmental Nexus, he will be researching the design of artificial and synthetic algae-bacteria consortia for the scaled production of natural biocommodities with a special focus on medicinal applications.
Taylor joined the Ducat lab at the PRL in 2014 to work on biotechnological projects, notably one where he engineered a community of bacteria to cooperatively create bioplastic, ultimately using only light for energy and carbon dioxide and water as raw materials. Taylor’s biotech work might significantly increase the feasibility and reduce the costs of producing environmentally-friendly plastics and other green products.
He has also worked on developing cultivation methods and optical instruments that can simplify, expand, and improve algal bioproduction research.
"It's been wonderful working at a facility that constantly operates at the forefront of photosynthesis research and has given algae an equal role to plants in this endeavor,” Taylor says. “I am thrilled that work which was started at the the PRL will continue to inspire my ASU research and be spun into new and exciting directions."
"We are delighted that Taylor will starting his own group in Arizona State, along with the many fine scientists working in algal biotechnology there,” Danny Ducat says. “While we will surely miss him around the lab here, I look forward to seeing how he will take his many creative ideas in a new direction and will be eagerly awaiting to hear of his new successes."
Originally a Michigan native, Taylor earned his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Rochester in New York and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University, where he was also awarded an NIH Molecular Biophysics Training Fellowship. Before coming to the PRL, he was also a post-doc at Washington University, Saint Louis.
He has published a dozen peer-reviewed articles, all in relation to algal biology and metabolites, and has been an invited speaker at more than a half-dozen national scientific forums.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the Michigan State University-DOE Plant Research Laboratory a three-year (2020-2023), $11.25 million DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences competitive renewal grant to continue its innovative photosynthesis research.
Scientists have established a new method to quantify how much cyanobacteria assimilate carbon in the process of photosynthesis. The method assesses carbon assimilation over a stretch of time. It also better factors in a wider range of environmental variables, such as changing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels or varying light intensities.
Benning is featured on the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's 'First-Person Science' series, where scientists describe how they made significant discoveries over years of research.