17. Dec 2019

Professor James C. Liao recipient of the Novozymes Award 2019

Novozymes has recognised the achievements of professor James C. Liao, President of Academia Sinica, Taiwan with the 2019 Novozymes Award, which he earned for his ‘original and fundamental breakthroughs in microbial synthesis of fuels and chemicals from renewable resources’, according to Jens Nielsen, professor at The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability and CEO at BioInnovation Institute in Denmark.

Jens Nielsen chairs the committee that selects the winner on behalf of Novozymes. With the Novozymes Award for Chemical and Biochemical Engineering follows 100.000 Danish kroner (15,000 USD).

“Professor James C. Liao has, through numerous studies, demonstrated how he can use fundamental chemical engineering principles to design strategies for rewiring the metabolism of microorganisms, such that they have can convert renewable feedstocks into valuable chemicals with an improved conversion yield,” noted Jens Nielsen.

The Novozymes Award has been annually presented since 2015 in honour of Professor John Villadsen and his contributions to biochemical and chemical engineering at DTU and other universities around the world. Previous recipients were:
2015: John Villadsen, professor DTU
2016: Bernard Palsson, CEO DTU Biosustain
2017: Gregory Stephanopoulos, professor MIT
2018: Matthias Reuß, professor University of Stuttgart

This year’s trophy was officially presented to the winner by Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO at Novozymes, during a ceremony on December 3, at Novozymes’ Innovation Campus in Lyngby, north of Copenhagen.

Chemical engineering for a sustainable future
Microbiological synthesis is about forming complex substances from simpler compounds, e.g. where organic waste materials like straw and household waste can be used as raw materials to produce biofuels or bioplastics. In his work, James C. Liao uses gene technologies to engineer the metabolism of the microorganism.

“Novozymes is based in innovation, and our biological solutions enables higher agricultural yields, low-temperature washing, energy-efficient production, renewable fuel and many other benefits that we rely on today and in the future”, says Claus Crone Fuglsang, Chief Science Officer at Novozymes.

“The world still needs new solutions for a sustainable future, and James C. Liaos’ work helps us understand nature better and use biology to do exactly this.”


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