Michael Himmel — Research Fellow
This page provides an overview of Michael Himmel's biography and achievements.
Dr. Himmel is a biochemist whose work on cellulase greatly simplified and lowered the cost of converting biomass to fuel. A principal scientist in the Energy Sciences Center, he has more than 30 years of experience in conducting, supervising, and planning research in: protein biochemistry, recombinant technology, enzyme engineering, new micro-organism discovery, and physicochemistry of macromolecules. He leads a team of 36 staff in NREL's Biomolecular Sciences group.
Today, Dr. Himmel manages the award-winning cellulase enzyme technology effort, as well as one major industrial and several academic subcontracts that support this work. The researchers have assembled world-class protein purification and characterization facilities at NREL, with special emphasis on robotics systems for screening libraries derived from directed evolution technology.
- Supervised research on stabilizing and improving important industrial enzymes by mutagenesis and rational protein design.
- Supported many technical aspects of the U.S. Department of Energy Biomass Program.
- Developed new facilities at NREL for biomass conversion research, including the Cellulase Biochemical Laboratory, a biomass surface characterization laboratory, and a protein crystallography laboratory.
Chaired or co-chaired 15 international meetings in the field of biochemistry and biotechnology, including the 2003 Gordon Research Conference on "Cellulases and Cellulosomes."
Colorado State University, Ph.D., Biochemistry, 1980
University of Northern Colorado, Bachelor of Science
Serves on the editorial boards of the scientific journals Science, Bioenergy Research and Cellulose.
2004: Won an R&D 100 Award for "Advanced Cellulase System for Biomass Conversion"
2011: Named a Battelle Memorial Institute Distinguished Inventor.
NREL Publications and Patents
Since beginning work at NREL in 1980, Dr. Himmel he has contributed more than 450 journal papers, meeting abstracts books, patents, and copyrights. He is co-editor-in-chief of Biotechnology for Biofuels.
View all NREL publications for Michael Himmel.