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A Letter from the Dean

Dean Ackerly headshot

As the need for energy independence, food security, and environmental sustainability grows more urgent by the day, it is apparent that there are no silver-bullet solutions. We must utilize all the tools we have to address these pressing issues and the other grand challenges of our time.

Our proverbial toolbox includes a growing set of solutions-oriented approaches that fall under a broad category called the bioeconomy. The term refers to the part of the economy that is based on products, services, and processes derived from renewable biological resources, such as plants and microorganisms.

Rausser College of Natural Resources is advancing the bioeconomy in many arenas. Our scientists are conducting research that supports a foundational understanding of microbes and biological processes that can sequester carbon or clean up ecosystems. Others are developing products and founding science-based startups that will transform the way we manufacture goods, grow food, treat diseases, and more. Our economists and policy experts are studying how to bring innovations from the lab to market, and other faculty are assessing the social and environmental impacts of new systems and approaches.

In this issue devoted to the bioeconomy, we explore the potential of biology-driven products and services as a way to foster sustainability at a global scale. We hope the stories here will inspire you about what the future may bring, and offer some optimism about the type of world we can create together.

I welcome your feedback at

David D. Ackerly

Breakthroughs magazine is published twice per year by Rausser College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley. To sign up to receive a print or digital copy of the magazine, please use the form at the link below.



David D. Ackerly


Julie Gipple

Associate Editor

Mathew Burciaga

Creative Director

Arnaud Ghelfi

Copy Editor

Laura Deck

Contributing Writers

Ann Brody Guy
Mathew Burciaga
Robin Donovan
Kara Manke
Linda Rafferty
Kristin Baird Rattini
Zac Unger

Contributing Photographers

Anastasiia Sapon

Contributing Illustrator

Giulio Bonasera

Design & Production

l’atelier starno

Online Director

Joseph Bunik

Online Production

Nina Tiêu

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