Invention Using light to control biofuel production
Inventor José Avalos, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
José Avalos and his team use light to enhance the production of biofuels, drugs and commercial chemicals in bioreactors, which contain microorganisms such as yeast that have been metabolically engineered to make biological products. The team uses a technology called optogenetics — involving light to control cellular processes — to turn yeast genes on and off at specific times to optimize the production of the desired chemical or product.
Development status Patent protection is pending. Princeton is seeking outside interest for further development of this technology.
Funding source National Science Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Princeton University’s Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund