2014 Undergraduate Achievement Day

May 2, 2014 - 7:00am
Wright Rieman Auditorium

Friday, May 2, 2014

9:30AM: Undergraduate Research Symposium: Life Sciences Atrium, Busch Campus
11:00AM: Jean Wilson Memorial Day Lecture: Dr. Mark J. Burk: Wright Rieman Auditorium, Busch Campus
12:00PM: Undergraduate Achievement Awards: Wright Rieman Auditorium, Busch Campus

“The Science Behind Sustainable Chemicals"

Mark J. Burk, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer
Genomatica, Inc.


Mark has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Genomatica since 2006. Genomatica develops and licenses processes and technologies for the sustainable production of chemicals. Genomatica’s technology platform enables engineering of high performance microorganisms that serve as catalysts or mini-factories for the direct conversion of a range of primary feedstocks to products of interest. In addition to lower cost, the resulting processes offer environmental benefits including lower energy usage, lower waste, and lower carbon footprint.

Prior to joining Genomatica, Mark was Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Diversa Corporation from 2000 to 2006. At Diversa, he led the development of enzymes used as catalysts in areas such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food and nutrition, and animal feed. Before that, from 1996 to 2000, Mark held a director level position at Chiroscience Pharmaceuticals, a U.K.-based pharmaceuticals and technology company that focused on commercializing chemical and enzymatic catalysts for the production of fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals. From 1993 to 1996, Mark served on the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Duke University, following five years in the Central Research Department (CRD) of DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware.

Mark received a B.A. in chemistry (minor in philosophy), from Rutgers in 1982 where he performed bioinorganic research under Professor Harvey Schugar. He earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Yale University with Bob Crabtree and performed postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Barry Sharpless. Mark has published over 75 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts and is named as an inventor on 169 issued patents. Mark has received many honors and awards, including a Pew Scholar Award, and is a frequent presenter at conferences on biotechnology, green chemistry, and bio-based chemicals.