Engineering Biology for Climate & Sustainability

Engineering Biology for Climate & Sustainability

Engineering Biology for Climate & Sustainability: A Research Roadmap for a Cleaner Future is a critical assessment of opportunities for engineering biology to contribute to tackling the climate crisis and long-term sustainability of products and solutions for health and well-being of Earth and its inhabitants. This roadmap identifies novel approaches, objectives, and aims for engineering biology research in climate change mitigation and adaptation that can help to lower greenhouse gases, reduce and remove pollution, and promote biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. This roadmap also identifies opportunities for engineering biology-enabled, sustainable replacements and alternatives in the food and agriculture sector, transportation and energy sectors, and for materials and industrial processes. The roadmap’s opportunities and objectives are laid out as short-, medium-, and long-term milestones, to address the challenges of climate change and sustainability with both urgency and persistent ambition and vision for the development and translation of engineering biology tools to technologies and products for the current and next-generation bioeconomy.

More about Engineering Biology for Climate & Sustainability

View the Executive Summary
Read our npj Climate Action Comment on the opportunities presented in this roadmap: Addressing the climate crisis through engineering biology. (Published February 21, 2024.)

Technical Themes

The roadmap’s technical themes focus on novel capabilities to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change and build and ensure resilient ecosystems. The Biosequestration of Greenhouse Gases theme addresses opportunities to capture and remove carbon dioxide, methane, and other harmful gases from the atmosphere and enable and strengthen carbon storage and conversion. The Mitigation of Environmental Pollution theme highlights opportunities to prevent and tackle pollution through bioremediation, biosequestration, and biodegradation of contaminants in the environment and from point-sources. And the Conservation of Ecosystems and Biodiversity theme addresses opportunities for engineering biology to contribute to the monitoring of ecosystem members and their health, distribution, and diversity, and pinpoints the need for strong biocontainment strategies that are necessary for all engineering biology applications.

Applications & Impact Sectors

The roadmap also focuses on climate-friendly, sustainable products and solutions for chief engineering biology application sectors. The Food & Agriculture theme addresses specific opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food production and waste and towards making agriculture and food systems more robust to climate change. The Transportation & Energy theme addresses opportunities in biofuels, electricity production and storage, and reducing emissions from transportation, shipping, and aviation. Finally, the Materials Production & Industrial Processes theme identifies opportunities in the built environment, textiles, and other consumer products for reducing the anthropogenic carbon footprint, reducing toxins and wastes, and recovering economically-valuable resources sustainably.

Social and Nontechnical Dimensions Case Studies

The social and nontechnical dimensions case studies provide context and framing for the questions and considerations that can be asked and addressed during research and development, and are intended to be used as a discussion and learning tool by engineering biology researchers and their collaborators.

View the Case Studies


The glossary presents definitions and description of some of the key terms and concepts found in the roadmap. The glossary is specific to the context of this roadmap.

Check out the Glossary

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Roadmap PDF →


  • Khalid Alam
    Stemloop, Inc.
  • Thomas Alexander
    North Carolina State University
  • Matt Amrofell
    Washington University in St. Louis
  • Peter Andeer
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Adam Arkin
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Emily R. Aurand
  • Ania-Ariadna Baetica
    University of California, San Francisco
  • Debjyoti Banerjee
    Texas A&M University
  • Robert Benisch
    University of Michigan
  • Roel Bovenberg
  • Nicole Buan
    University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • James Carothers
    University of Washington
  • Yonatan Chemla
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Sifang Chen
  • Kung-Hui (Bella) Chu
    Texas A&M University
  • Patrick Cirino
    University of Houston
  • Carrie Cizauskas
  • Leah Davis
    Rowan University
  • John J. Desmarais
    University of California, Berkeley
  • James Diggans
    Twist Bioscience Corporation
  • David Ding
    Univ. of California, Berkeley/DOE Joint Genome Institute
  • Kaitlyn Duvall
  • Robert Egbert
    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Emiley Eloe-Fadrosh
    Joint Genome Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • Amin Espah Borujeni
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Trent Evans
    Washington University
  • Sam Weiss Evans
    Harvard University
  • Mike Fero
    TeselaGen Biotechnology, Inc.
  • Paul Freemont
    Imperial College London
  • Emily (Emm) Fulk
    Rice University
  • Ute Galm
    Curie Co.
  • Annelise Goldman
    Rice University
  • Daniel Goodwin
    Homeworld Collective
  • Jeffrey Gralnick
    University of Minnesota
  • Maneesh Gupta
    Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Karmella Haynes
    Emory University
  • Albert Hinman
  • India Hook-Barnard
  • Michael Jewett
    Northwestern University
  • Lauren Junker
  • Cholpisit (Ice) Kiattisewee
    University of Washington
  • Michael Köepke
  • Brandon Lam
    Ginkgo Bioworks
  • Isaac Larkin
    FreeGenes Project
  • Kok Zhi Lee
    Purdue University
  • Allen (Seung Hwan) Lee
    Rice University
  • Angela Lee
  • Chien-Yuan Lin
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Kanya Long
    University of California, San Diego
  • Julius Lucks
    Northwestern University
  • Rebecca Mackelprang
  • Krishna Mahadevan
    University of Toronto
  • Cecilia Martinez-Gomez
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Caroline Masiello
    Rice University
  • Carolyn Mills
    Northwestern University
  • Tae Seok Moon
    Washington University in St. Louis
  • Steven Moss
    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
  • Nik Nair
    Tufts University
  • Cynthia Ni
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Trent Northen
    Lawrence Berkeley Lab
  • Javin Oza
    California Polytechnic State University
  • Megan Palmer
    Stanford University
  • Marilene Pavan
  • Paul Reginato
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Marianela Rodriguez-Carres
  • Howard Salis
    Pennsylvania State University
  • Dan Siegal
    Ginkgo Bioworks
  • Pamela Silver
    Harvard Medical School
  • Blake Simmons
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Chuck Smallwood
    Sandia National Laboratories
  • Kevin Solomon
    Kevin Solomon
    Purdue University; current affiliation University of Delaware
  • Liz Specht
    The Good Food Institute
  • Amy Stoddard
    Boston University
  • Emily Stoler
  • Tyler Stukenbroeker
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Sean Sullivan
    Tufts University
  • Yinjie Tang
    Washington University in St. Louis
  • Bishal Thapa
    University of Idaho
  • Kersh Thevasundaram
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Esteban Toro
    Twist Bioscience
  • Tyler Toth
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Cara Tracewell
  • Danielle Tullman-Ercek
    Northwestern University
  • Julia Turnšek
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Matthew Tuttle
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Ginni Ursin
    Ginni Ursin
  • Natanya Villegas
    University of Oregon
  • Camille Wolf
    University of California, Davis
  • Quanhui Ye
    University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Yasuo Yoshikuni
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Jesse Zalatan
    University of Washington
  • Yan Zhang
    Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Laurie Zoloth
    University of Chicago