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Frontiers in Science Talks

This series of conversations with scientists, engineers and other experts is a public service of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows. Fellows are appointed by the Laboratory Director in recognition of sustained outstanding contributions and exceptional promise for continued professional achievement. All talks are open to the public and free of charge.

  • Micaela Hester
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Breaking the cycle of plastic pollution

Biochemist Taraka Dale discusses the smart cells that could clean up our future

Sept. 29, 2021
6 p.m.

The plastic we use today in staggering amounts takes more than 400 years to degrade, but imagine if it could be replaced with a sustainable, environmentally friendly version?

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s biochemist Taraka Dale believes it’s possible — and soon. Dale will explore how the Lab and its partners are using R&D 100 award-winning smart microbial cell technology to upcycle today’s plastic trash and design degradable plastics for the future.

This groundbreaking work is part of the Department of Energy’s new Bio-Optimized Technologies to keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment, aka the BOTTLE program. You can learn about smart microbial cells in this recent 1663 magazine article.

Taraka Dale (Ph.D.) is a Scientist 4 at LANL, with 20 years of experience in the design and development of mid- to high-throughput assays for biochemical research. Her group focuses on applications that utilize algae and other non-model microorganisms as platforms for enabling the production of cost effective biofuels and bioproducts. She is the PI, LANL Lead, or Task Lead for nine active projects, including four of the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies eight multi-national laboratory R&D consortia. She is also the Team Leader of the Biomass and Biodiversity Team in Bioscience Division.

Frontiers in Science will launch on the Los Alamos National Laboratory YouTube channel at 6 p.m. on Sept. 29. To subscribe to the channel, click here.

The Frontiers in Science series is a public service of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows.