WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Biotechnology Industry Organization today announced the keynote speakers for the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing. Plenary speakers will examine both the next-generation scientific breakthroughs and the public-private investment policies needed to make large-scale production of biofuels a reality in the United States.

Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Andy Karsner will address the opening lunch plenary session on Thursday March 22. Khosla is the head of Khosla Ventures, a company that actively invests in breakthrough scientific work in clean technology areas such as biorefineries for energy and bioplastics, solar, and other environmentally friendly technologies. Fortune magazine recently called Khosla one of the nation's most influential ethanol advocates.

Karsner manages the Department of Energy's $1.17 billion program to promote the development and marketplace integration of renewable and environmentally sound energy technologies and the preservation and efficient use of our nation's other valuable resources.

Jay Keasling will address the lunch plenary session on Friday, March 23. Keasling's work in synthetic biology recently earned him the title of Discover magazine's 2006 Scientist of the Year. As director of the Berkeley Center for Synthetic Biology, Keasling's research seeks to expand the biotechnology process from expressing single proteins within cells to recreating complex chemical processes within engineered organisms.

Keasling engineered a yeast into a chemical factory to produce a precursor to artemisinin, the most effective and expensive anti-malarial drug. Since artemisinin is a hydrocarbon, this work has led him into study of the production of biofuels.

The Congress, to be held March 21-24, 2007, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla., is hosted by BIO, the American Chemical Society, the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council, the European Federation of Biotechnology, BIOTECanada and EuropaBIO.

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

Upcoming events:

  • BIO CEO & Investor Conference Feb. 12-14, 2007, New York City
  • 2007 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing March 21-24, 2007, Orlando, Fla.
  • BIO International Convention May 6-9, 2007, Boston

  • SOURCE: Biotechnology Industry Organization via Business Wire.