EBI Leadership



The EBI Directorate is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the institute, providing administrative oversight and management direction.

Chris Somerville
Dr. Somerville provides institute-wide research leadership for UC Berkeley, University of Illinois and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Isaac K. O. Cann
Deputy Director
Dr. Cann is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois. He provides research leadership for EBI activities at Illinois and contributes to strategic planning institute-wide.

Paul A. Willems
Associate Director
Dr. Willems is a technology vice president for energy biosciences at BP.  He provides strategic input into research programs and integrates activities between EBI and BP.

Susan Jenkins
Managing Director
Dr. Jenkins leads institute-wide administration and oversees education and outreach, communications, intellectual property and IT at Berkeley.

Susan Thomas
Deputy Program Manager
Dr. Thomas oversees operations and administration at the University of Illinois.

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The Executive Committee, made up of representatives from each partner institution, is the primary steward of the EBI’s mission implementation. It reviews and recommends the yearly research program and develops operating policies and practices. The research program requires the approval of the Institute’s Governance Board.

Chris Somerville
Director, EBI

Isaac Cann
Deputy Director, EBI

Paul A. Willems
Associate Director

Yong-Su Jin
Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Michael J. Miller
Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Mark David
Professor of Biogeochemistry, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
University of Illinois

Jonathan Ajo-Franklin
Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Louise Glass
Professor and Associate Chair, Plant and Microbial Biology Department, UC Berkeley

Sharon Rynders
BP Commercial Manager, EBI

F. Dean Toste
Professor of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Wenjun Zhang
Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
UC Berkeley


David Zilberman
Robinson Chair, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics
UC Berkeley

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The Governance Board has the responsibility to define, oversee, and review the implementation of EBI programs in the open component of research. It also appoints the EBI Director and Deputy Director.


The Governance Board has eight voting members, four of which are appointed by the University of California, Berkeley, and four by BP. The appointees must include at least one representative each from Berkeley, the University of Illinois, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


In addition, the Governance Board has three ex-officio members, who may attend and participate in board meetings. The ex-officio members are the director, deputy director, and associate director.

Claude Steele
Executive Vice Chancellor, UC Berkeley

Graham Fleming
Vice Chancellor for Research, UC Berkeley

Horst Simon
Deputy Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Peter Schiffer
Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Charles Cameron
Head of Research and Technology, Refining & Marketing, BP

John W. Pierce
Chief Bioscientist, BP

Ahmed Hashmi
Global Head of Upstream Technology, BP

Tom Campbell
Technology Vice-President, BP Biofuels   

Chris Somerville
Director, EBI

Isaac K. O. Cann
Deputy Director, EBI

Paul A. Willems
Associate Director, EBI

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The Energy Biosciences Institute relies on the advice of a group of international bioenergy experts to help guide it. Appointed by and reporting to the Governance Board, the Advisory Board meets with EBI management annually. The group is charged with evaluating and reporting on the EBI’s management structure and effectiveness in terms of synergy among the partners, fit to mission, and progress towards goals. They will also benefit from feedback from the EBI’s scientific and staff communities in Berkeley and Illinois.

Virginia Dale
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Jim McMillan
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Jens Nielsen
Chalmers University of Technology

Brent Shanks
Iowa State University

Joe Suflita
University of Oklahoma

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