Amyris Biotechnologies has announced that Neil Renninger, Ph.D., co-founder and senior vice president of development, has been recognized by Technology Review magazine as one of the world's top innovators under the age of 35.
Renninger is being recognized for his contributions to the development of a technology platform for engineering metabolic pathways in microbes to make high-value compounds that help address major global health and energy challenges.
This technology was initially applied to reduce the production cost of artemisinin-based anti-malarial drugs. The research and development team co-led by Renninger applied Amyris’ technology platform to develop a microbially-derived artemisinin precursor which is expected to reduce the cost of artemisinin to a fraction of its current cost.
In the next application of this technology, Renninger and his team identified high-performing hydrocarbon-based transportation biofuels that can be made using similarly engineered microbes. The resulting fuels will be environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and compatible with current engines and distribution infrastructure.
Selected from hundreds of nominees by a panel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Review, the TR35 is an elite group of accomplished young innovators recognized as having the potential to profoundly impact the world, based on their innovation in their respective areas.
"Neil's work will change the lives of generations to come, both in the fight against malaria and in creating sustainable energy alternatives in biofuels," said John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and member of Amyris' Board of Directors. "This is huge! Neil and his colleagues at Amyris are developing a breakthrough technology and are deeply committed to making a difference."
"This tremendous honor is really a testament to the dedicated, talented and driven team that we've assembled," said Dr. Renninger. "I can't think of a better environment to be working in than here at Amyris as we pursue our technology's full potential in areas like sustainable energy."
Renninger brings to Amyris a cross disciplinary understanding of both the micro-world of strain engineering and the macro-world of chemical engineering. He received a doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley focusing on the metabolic engineering of bacterial cells for chemical transformations. Renninger received his undergraduate training in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, while simultaneously receiving an M.S. in Environmental Engineering.
"The TR35 honors young innovators for accomplishments that are poised to have a dramatic impact on the world as we know it," said Jason Pontin, editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review magazine. "We celebrate their success and look forward to their continued advancement of technology in their respective fields."