Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Faces at the Lab: JBEI Scientist Nathan Hillson


Division/Department:
Physical Biosciences Division and the Joint Bioenergy Institute (JBEI)

Years at the Lab:
Three

What do you do at the Lab? 
My group develops foundational technologies and methodologies that make engineering microbes for biofuel production faster, less expensive, and more scalable.

What do you like best about your job?
The positive work environment, and the people that I interact with. Our team members come from a diverse set of backgrounds, but we are all focused on our core mission.

How does your job help make the Lab successful?
JBEI is on the national stage and contributes to a positive public perception of the Lab. We are proud of our successes in the industrial commercialization of our basic science efforts, through technology licensing as well as the conception of several Bay Area startup companies.

What would you like to accomplish in the future?

I would like to enable bio-scientists to focus their efforts on innovative experimental design and assessment, and entirely relieve them from the burdensome distraction of DNA construction.

What changes have you implemented to create a more positive or efficient work environment?
The design and implementation of j5, software that automates the cost-optimal design of DNA construction protocols. j5 makes biological research more efficient and cost-effective, both here at that Lab and throughout academia and industry.

What are some of your favorite activities outside of work?
Hawaiian-style outrigger canoe paddling with the Hui Wa’a Club near Redwood City. I also participate in Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments with my friends.

What saying best reflects your outlook on life?

Experiences are important, not possessions.

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