Campus News

International bioenergy experts launch new lecture series at UGA

Bruce Dale

Some of the world’s leading bioenergy experts are visiting UGA this semester to offer lectures on the future of bioenergy, and to advise the university’s newly approved Bioenergy Systems Research Institute on its strategic direction.

The goal of bringing these experts to UGA is to learn others’ perspectives on how the U.S. will take advantage of biomass-derived renewable energy and in what areas BSRI can make the biggest difference, according to Robert Scott, associate vice president for research.

“We are hearing from international experts on different biomass feedstocks, different chemical and biochemical routes to extracting the energy and generating biofuels, and translating basic and applied research outcomes into the private sector to support economic development,” said Scott, who is also BSRI interim director. “We also are sharing ideas on educational and training experiences to develop best practices in developing the workforce for this new energy economy.”

Faculty, staff and students are invited to attend the lecture series.

Harry Brumer from the Wallenberg Wood Science Center at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, opened the lecture series Jan. 11. His talk, “A Tale of Two Activities: The Degradation and Rearrangement of Xyloglucan as a Paradigm for Polysaccharide Utilization,” was co-sponsored by the BioEnergy Science Center.

Three other lectures are scheduled for this semester. On Feb. 8, Bruce Dale from ­Michigan State University will speak at 11:15 a.m. in Room B118 of the Life Sciences Building. Dale is professor of chemical engineering and associate director of the Office of Biobased Technologies at MSU. His talk, “How Shall We Choose? Making Useful Comparisons Between Petroleum Alternatives,” is co-­sponsored by the Institute of ­Bioinformatics.

On March 8, Shaw Mansfield from the University of British Columbia will speak at 4 p.m. in the auditorium of the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center. Mansfield is professor and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Wood and Fibre Quality in the Faculty of Forestry’s department of wood science. His lecture, “Genomic Strategies for Improving Poplar as a Feedstock for Next Generation Biofuels,” is co-sponsored by the BESC.

The lecture series will conclude April 11 at 4 p.m. in the auditorium of the CCRC. Clint Chapple, Distinguished Professor and head of the department of biochemistry at Purdue University, will speak. His lecture, “Using Arabidopsis to Learn about Lignin,” is co-sponsored by the BESC.