This site will serve as the site of the Sustainable Biotechnology Initiative, a student group of the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences dedicated to exploring the use of biotechnology in developing a sustainable future.
Specifically, the SBI will concentrate on three core areas:

  1. Sustainability through Biotechnology: Here the SBI will explore the use of biotechnology in the development of sustainable industrial production. We will explore the science, economics, and management of the production of bio-fuels, industrial enzymes, bio-plastics, bioremediation, and fine and bulk chemicals.
  2. Sustainability of Biotechnology: Here the SBI will explore questions and issues relating to the sustainability of biotechnology business operations, exploring and applying modern sustainable analysis methodologies such as lifecycle analysis and cradle-to-cradle design to current biotechnology/bioprocess engineering and operations management.
  3. Sustainability and Biotechnology: Here the SBI will explore the relationship of the biotechnology industry to the greater sustainability movement, looking at how biotechnology companies relate to activist groups, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), the popular media, and the general public and respond to their questions of sustainability and environmental ethics.

Purpose

The SBI exists primarily to benefit the greater KGI community by creating opportunities to advance both KGI as an institution and by fostering the individual interests of its faculty and students. It should offer SBI participants and the KGI community a way to see what others are doing, explore their interests in a mutually beneficial manner, and create a social networking structure for those interested in further development of SBI core areas.

Motivation

The 21st century is being called the Biotechnology Century. Where the 20th century was dominated by the development of technologies based on hard physics and chemistry that brought on the full promise and problems of the industrial revolution, the 21st century promises to be dominated by technological developments based on biology and the molecular operation of living entities. This will allow us to move beyond the crude and wasteful technology of the industrial revolution and replace much of it with elegant and efficient engineered biological technologies. To be sure, high value pharmaceutical and therapeutic applications of biotechnology were important in its early development and continue to be dominant but in the long run they only represent a fraction of the potential of biotechnology. Much recent academic and commercial activity has been applied toward the development of sustainable industrial biotechnology, particularly biofuels to supplement and eventually replace petro-chemical feedstock. Academic and commercial activity in this area will only grow over time and KGI should position itself to play a prominent role in its commercialization. The Sustainable Biotechnology Initiative will be an important first step in obtaining this position.

Inspiration

The SBI is not a new type of entity. It is inspired by an existing group currently operating at the University of California, Berkeley. This group, called the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC) was formed by students to bring together the diverse community at UCB interested in sustainable technology applications. It includes members of Haas School of Business, Boalt Law School, the Engineering and Life Sciences schools, the Joint Bioenergy Institute (JBI), and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. The SBI should be developed as the BERC of the KGI community and to eventually grow to involve those with similar interests at the other Claremont Consortium schools such as HMC Center for Environmental Studies, the Environmental Analysis Group at Pomona, and the Environmental Studies Field Group at Pitzer.

Disclaimer

The SBI is associated with the students of the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences but is not an official element of that institution. The SBI is an independant entitity and the views and opinions expressed here do not reflect those of KGI as an institution. The SBI is only a place for the free exchange of ideas on biotechnology and its place in creating a better world.

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