STEM Lecture Series Archive
Jonathan Trent: A Space-Time Guide to a Sustainable Future
Recording of Jonathan Trent's Presentation in 5 parts
Dr. Jonathan Trent invented OMEGA to grow oil-producing algae on municipal wastewater and is leading the multidisciplinary OMEGA team to test the feasibility of the OMEGA concept. Dr. Trent’s previous research focused on astrobiology and nanotechnology using extremophiles. Extremophiles are organisms adapted to live in the most extreme environments on earth and his studies of their lifestyle and adaptations have provided insight into how extremophies adapt to live in near-boiling sulfuric acid and how their protein structures can be used to construct robust, self-assembling, genetically versatile tools for nanotechnology. His nanotechnology has been applied to developing enzymes arrays to access the sugars in cellulose for making biofuels.
After receiving his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Dr. Trent spent six years in Europe at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Germany, the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and the University of Paris at Orsay in France. He returned to the USA to work at the Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine at Yale Medical School for two years before establishing a biotechnology group at Argonne National Laboratory. In 1998 he moved to NASA Ames Research Center to be part of NASA’s Astrobiology program and established the Protein Nanotechnology Group in 1999. In addition to working at NASA, he is an Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Biomolecular Engineering at UC Santa Cruz and is a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. In 2006, Dr. Trent received the Nano50 award for innovation in nanotechnology. His work on biofuels was initially supported by Google.com and is currently supported by the California Energy Commission and NASA ARMD.
- "NASA OMEGA Project: The Ocean as a Platform for Biofuel" - Marine Explore Blog by Nico Danan, Jun 21, 2013
- "Microalgae Cultivation Using Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae (OMEGA)" - Journal of Sustainable Bioenergy Systems, Mar 2013
- "India has Great Potential for Developing OMEGA Systems" - Energy Next Magazine (India) by Rosy Mishra, May 2013
- "Is (Yucky) Algae the Future of Biofuels?" - Huffington Post by Sidonie Sawyer, July 30, 2013
- "NASA Omega Project" - Algae Industry Magazine by David Schwartz, Aug 21, 2011
- "Grow your Own Energy" - Slate Magazine (reprint of New Scientist article) by Jonathan Trent, Sept 3, 2012
- "NASA & the Navy Developing the Fuel of the Future" - Navy Currents Magazine, Spring 2011
- "Dewatering microalgae by forward osmosis" - CAB Direct, Dec 2012
- "Research Spotlight: The future of biofuels: is it in the bag?" - Future Science, Sept 2012
- "Even greener alternative: Energy from algae" - New Scientist, Aug 31, 2012