Philosophical Society of Washington

The Promise of Biotechnology for Applications in Energy and the Environment

Ari Patrinos
President, Synthetic Genomics Inc.

2205th Meeting Abstract
Friday, April 7, 2006 at 8:15 PM


The sequencing of the human genome has ushered the new era of systems biology that leverages the strengths of the physical and computational sciences. This exciting combination of disciplines has created opportunities for solutions to the challenges of clean energy and environmental remediation. Possible applications include the efficient transformation of cellulose to ethanol, the production of biohydrogen, and the cleanup of mixed waste at the DOE nuclear weapon facilities.

Ari Patrinos

About the Author:

Aristides Patrinos received a diploma in mechanical and electrical engineering from the National Technical University of Athens and a PhD in mechanical engineering and astronautical sciences from Northwestern University. His academic research included atmospheric turbulence, computational fluid dynamics, and hydrodynamic stability. After a year on the faculty of the University of Rochester, he joined the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1976.

In 1980, he joined Brookhaven National Laboratory and developed atmospheric chemistry models of acid rain and led field programs on wetfall chemistry in urban areas. In 1984, he was detailed to the Environmental Protection Agency and to the National Acid Deposition Assessment Program staff in Washington, DC. He joined DOE in 1986, restructuring the Department's atmospheric sciences program, and in 1988 led the expansion of DOE's research effort in global environmental change. In 1990, he became the Director of the Environmental Sciences Division of the Office of Health and Environmental Research, now renamed the Office of Biological and Environmental Research.

He most recently served as the Associate Director for Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science, overseeing the research activities including the DOE human and microbial genome programs, structural biology, nuclear medicine and health effects, global environmental change, and basic research underpinning DOE's environmental restoration effort. In February 2006, he became President of Synthetic Genomics Inc., continuing his work in areas related to the subject of this lecture.

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