EBI Personnel Directory Cate, Jamie

Biomass Depolymerization

Jamie Cate




Dr. Cate is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and of chemistry at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on the production of biofuels, as well as protein synthesis. He is interested in understanding how microbes extract carbon from plant biomass, an abundant resource for a sustainable chemical industry.

Dr. Cate’s lab is using synthetic biology and systems approaches to retool baker’s yeast for biorefinery applications. The lab also probes the molecular basis for protein synthesis, and the structural basis for antibiotic action on the ribosome.

In collaboration with Louise Glass and Michael Marletta's research groups in the EBI, he is studying the degradation of cellulose by the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassaN. crassa is widely recognized as a model organism and has comprehensive genetic, biochemical, and functional genomic tools.  The team recently completed a systemwide analysis of Neurospora's response to growth on cellulosic biomass and has identified a number of genes involved in the process. Ongoing work in the lab is focused on the biochemical characterization of these proteins and enzymes.

Dr. Cate received his Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University and has been on the UC Berkeley faculty since 2001. He received a Searle Scholars award in 2000 and was honored with the 2008 Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award of The Protein Society. He was also a Sloan Research Fellow in 2006-07.



Neurospora crassa as a Model for Mechanisms of Plant Biomass Conversion to Biofuels

This program studies the degradation of cellulosic biomass by the model fungus Neurospora crassa.  The group analyzes N. crassa growth on plant biomass using a combination of systems biology, synthetic biology, and mechanistic enzymology.