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Lee Lynd headshot

Lee Rybeck Lynd

Paul E. and Joan H. Queneau Distinguished Professor of Engineering

Program Area Lead: Energy Engineering
Adjunct Professor of Biology
Director, Grand Challenges Scholars Program
Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Enchi Corporation
Consolidated Bioprocessing Team Leader, DOE Center for Bioenergy Innovation
Executive Committee Chair, Global Sustainable Bioenergy Initiative

Lynd Lab

The research lab led by Professor Lynd engages in a range of activities with the overarching goal of cost-effective production of cellulosic biofuels that benefit people and the environment.


A member of the Dartmouth faculty since 1987, Professor Lynd is an expert on utilization of plant biomass for production of energy. Spanning science, technology, and policy domains, and including leading research on fundamental and biotechnological aspects of microbial cellulose utilization, his body of work includes over 250 publications, over 35,000 citations, an h-index of 79, and an !10-index of 222 (Google Scholar), as well as 8 granted patents. Lynd is co-founder, Chief Scientific Officer, and Director of biofuel start-up Enchi Corp., Consolidated Bioprocessing Team Lead for the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, and founder and Executive Committee Chair of the Global Sustainable Bioenergy Initiative. In the past, he was co-founder, CSO, and Director of Mascoma Corp., co-leader (with Nathanael Greene of the Natural Resources Defense Council) of The Role of Biomass in America's Energy Future project, and biofuel industry representative on a committee advisory to the executive office of President Clinton on reducing greenhouse gas emission from personal vehicles. He has three times testified before the US Senate, and has been featured in prominent fora such as Wired, Forbes, Nova, and the Nobel Conference. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has received numerous awards and honors, including: Inaugural winner of the Lemelson MIT Sustainability Prize for inventions and innovations that enhance economic opportunity and community well-being while protecting and restoring the natural environment, and the Charles D. Scott Award for distinguished contributions to the field of biotechnology for fuels and chemicals.


  • BS, Biology, Bates College 1979
  • MS, Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison 1981
  • MS, Engineering Sciences, Dartmouth 1984
  • DE, Engineering, Dartmouth 1987

Research Interests

Microbial cellulose utilization; metabolic engineering; innovative biomass processing technologies; sustainable bioenergy futures

Selected Publications

Microbial Cellulose Utilization:

  • Balch, ML, MB Chamberlain, RS Worthen, EK Holwerda, LR Lynd. 2020. Fermentation with Continuous Ball Milling: Effectiveness at Enhancing Solubilization for Several Cellulosic Feedstocks and Comparative Tolerance of Several Microorganisms. Biomass and Bioenergy, 134: 105468.
  • Holwerda EK, RS Worthen, N Kothari, RC Lasky, BH Davison, C Fu, ZY Wang, RA Dixon, AK Biswal, D Mohnen, RS Nelson, HL Baxter,M Mazarei, CN Stewart Jr, W Muchero, GA Tuskan, CM Cai, EE Gjersing, MF Davis, ME Himmel, CE Wyman, P Gilna, LR Lynd. 2019. Multiple levers for overcoming the recalcitrance of lignocellulosic biomass. Biotechnol Biofuels, 12:15. doi: 10.1186/s13068-019-1353-7.
  • Liang, X, JM Whitham, EK Holwerda, X Shao, L Tian, Y-W Wu, V Lombard, B Henrissat, DM Klingeman, ZK Yang, M Podar, TL Richard, JG Elkins, SD Brown, LR Lynd. 2018. Development and characterization of stable anaerobic thermophilic methanogenic microbiomes fermenting switchgrass at decreasing residence times. Biotechnol Biofuels, 11 (1), art. no. 243. doi: 10.1186/s13068-018-1238-1.
  • More...

Metabolic Engineering:

  • Jacobson TB, TK Korosh, DM Stevenson, C Foster, C Maranas, DG Olson, LR Lynd, D Amador-Noguez. 2020. In vivo thermodynamic analysis of glycolysis in Clostridium thermocellum and Thermoanaerobacterium saccharolyticum using 13C and 2H tracers. mSystems. 5 (2) e00736-19; doi: 10.1128/mSystems.00736-19.
  • Cui J, MI Maloney, DG Olson, LR Lynd. 2020. Conversion of phosphoenolpyruvate to pyruvate in Thermoanaerobacterium saccharolyticum. Metab Eng Commun. 10:e00122. doi: 10.1016/j.mec.2020.e00122. eCollection 2020 Jun. PubMed PMID: 32025490; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6997586.
  • Walker JE, AA Lanahan, T Zheng, C Toruno, LR Lynd, JC Cameron, DG Olson, CA Eckert. 2019. Development of both type I-B and type II CRISPR/Cas genome editing systems in the cellulolytic bacterium Clostridium thermocellum. Metab Eng Commun. 10:e00116. doi: 10.1016/j.mec.2019.e00116. eCollection 2020 Jun. PubMed PMID: 31890588; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6926293.
  • More...

Innovative Biomass Processing Technologies:

  • Hannon JR, LR Lynd, O Andrade, PT Benavides, GT Beckham, MJ Biddy, N Brown, MF Chagas, BH Davison, T Foust, TL Junqueira, MS Laser, Z Li, T Richard, L Tao, GA Tuskan, M Wang, J Woods, CE Wyman. 2019. Technoeconomic and life-cycle analysis of single-step catalytic conversion of wet ethanol into fungible fuel blendstocks. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. pii: 201821684. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1821684116. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31767762.
  • Lynd, LR. 2017. The grand challenge of cellulosic biofuels. Nature Biotechnology, 35(10), 912–915. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3976.
  • Lynd, LR, X Liang, MJ Biddy, A Allee, Hao Cai, T Foust, ME Himmel, MS Laser, M Wang, CE Wyman. 2017. Cellulosic ethanol: Status and innovation. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 45:201-211.
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Sustainable Bioenergy Futures:

  • Monteiro LA, AM Allee, EE Campbell, LR Lynd, JR Soares, D Jaiswal, JC Oliveira, MS Vianna, AE Morishige, GKDA Figueiredo, RAC Lamparelli, ND Mueller, J Gerber, LAB Cortez, JJ Sheehan. 2020. Assessment of yield gaps on global grazed-only permanent pasture using climate binning. Glob Change Biol. 26: 1820– 1832. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14925.
  • Moreira, MMR, JEA Seabra, LR Lynd, SM Arantes, MP Cunha, JJM Guilhoto. 2020. Socio-Environmental and Land-Use Impacts of Double-Cropped Maize Ethanol in Brazil. Nature Sustainability, 1–8.
  • Monteiro LA, AM Allee, EE Campbell, LR Lynd, JR Soares, D Jaiswal, J de Castro Oliveira, M Dos Santos Vianna, AE Morishige, GKDA Figueiredo, RAC Lamparelli, ND Mueller, J Gerber, LAB Cortez, JJ Sheehan. 2019. Assessment of yield gaps on global grazed-only permanent pasture using climate binning. Glob Chang Biol. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14925. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31730282.
  • More...

See full publications list on ORCID


  • Charles Thom Award, SIMB (2021)
  • Thayer Distinguished Research Award for Faculty (2020)
  • Keynote Presentation, MIT Applied Energy A+B Symposium (2019)
  • Keynote Lecture, Canadian Society of Microbiologists (2018)
  • Keynote lecture, 40th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2018)
  • Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology’s Waksman Outstanding Teaching Award (2016)
  • Winthrop Rockefeller Distinguished Lecture, University of Arkansas (2013)
  • Keynote Lecture, 35th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2013)
  • Professor Extraordinary of Microbiology, Department of Microbiology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa (2002–present)
  • AAAS Fellow (2012)
  • University of Georgia Charter Lecture (2012)
  • Mines Medal honoring scientists and engineers who have shown exceptional leadership and innovation, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (2011)
  • 2010: Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering, Best Paper of the Year (2010)
  • American Society of Microbiology Division O Lecture (2008)
  • Inaugural Winner, Lemelson-MIT Sustainability Award for Inventions and Innovations that Enhance Economic Opportunity and Community Well-Being While Protecting and Restoring the Natural Environment (2007)
  • Nobel Conference Lecture (2007)
  • Fellow, Institute of Biological Engineering (2007)
  • Charles D. Scott Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field of Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2005)
  • Organizing Committee and Keynote Speaker, First Botswana Symposium on Science and Technology for Development (2000)
  • Charles A. Lindbergh grant in recognition of efforts to promote a balance between environmental preservation and technological advancement (1991–1994)
  • Presidential Young Investigator (1989–1994)

Professional Activities

  • Organizing Committee Member, Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Meeting (2020)
  • Invited Participant, Workshop on Ensuring Energy Security Through a Low-Carbon Economy. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden Colorado (2016)
  • Invited Participant, SCOPE Mini RAP Workshop on Bioenergy and Sustainability. Sao Paulo Research Foundation, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2016)
  • Invited Participant, Getting Near-Zero. Aspen Global Change Institute (2016)
  • Organizing Committee, Lorentz Center workshop “Bridging Technological and Social Innovation for a Biobased Economy, the Netherlands (2016)
  • Organizing Committee Member, biannual Clostridium meetings (2016–present)
  • Host, Clostridium XIV meeting (2016)
  • Invited Participant, Low-Carbon Energy Workshop. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2015)
  • Invited Participant. Debate on Bioenergy and Sustainability. World Bank (2015)
  • Organizing Committee, Joint Expert Meeting on Pasture and Remote Sensing. GEOGLAM RAPP Community of Practice. Campinas, Brazil (2015)
  • Scientific Advisory Committee, SCOPE (Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment) Rapid Assessment Process on Biofuels and Sustainability (2013-2015)
  • Scientific Committee, Bioenergy and Food Security Workshop, International Food Policy Research Institute (2014)
  • Scientific Advisory Committee, SCOPE (Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment) Rapid Assessment Process on Biofuels and Sustainability (2013)
  • Advisory Board member, BioEnergy Research (2010–present)
  • Lecturer, Advanced Course on Microbial Physiology and Fermentation, Delft Technical University, The Netherlands (2005–2015)
  • Manager, Link Energy Foundation Energy Fellowship Program (1998–present)
  • Visiting Scholar, University of Campinas, Brazil (2012)
  • Editor, Biofuels and Fine Chemicals Section, Manual of Industrial Microbiology (2008–2009)
  • Lecturer, Penn State Biomass Energy Short Course (2008–2009)
  • Advisor, Renewable and Alternative Energy Portfolio, South African National Energy Research Institute (2007–2009)
  • Member, Minnesota Cellulosic Ethanol Working Group (2007–2009)
  • Bioenergy Section Editor, Current Opinion in Biotechnology (2007–2008)
  • Organizing Committee Member, Annual Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (1996–2009)
  • Co-Leader, "Reimagining Agriculture to Accommodate Large Scale Energy Production," NSF-funded workshop (2007)
  • Organizing Committee Member, American Academy of Microbiology Symposium on Microbial Energy Production (2005)
  • Co-leader, The Role of Biomass in America’s Energy Future Project (2003–2009)
  • Visiting Professor, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa (2002)
  • Member and R&D area coordinator, Biomass and Agriculture Working Group of the Energy Future Coalition (2003)
  • Associate Editor (1995–2008) and Editorial Board Member (2008–present), Biotechnology and Bioengineering
  • Biofuels Industry Representative, Advisory Committee to the Executive Office of President Clinton on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Personal Vehicles (1994–1995)

Selected Presentations (2019–2020 Academic Year)

  • Bioenergy Science and Technology Conference, Sao Paulo, Brazil, March, 2020
  • Synthetic Biology Research Center, University of Nottingham, January, 2020
  • Department of Biotechnology, Technical University of Delft, January, 2020
  • Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Campinas, December, 2019
  • Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Campinas, December, 2019
  • Stockholm Environmental Institute, Stockholm, October, 2019
  • Lantmannen, Stockholm, October, 2019
  • Biosustain, Danish Technical University, Lingby, October, 2019
  • Project Drawdown, Penn State University, State College, September, 2019
  • Mechanical Engineering & Environmental Policy, Imperial College, London, September, 2019



  • Increased ethanol production by thermophilic microorganisms with deletion of individual HFS hydrogenase subunits | 10,619,172
  • Systems and methods for enhancing microbial conversion of biomass using mechanical augmentation | 10,533,194
  • Thermophilic organisms for conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol | 10,066,217
  • Nucleic acid molecules conferring enhanced ethanol tolerance and microorganisms having enhanced tolerance to ethanol | 8,629,255
  • Process for the treatment of lignocellulosic biomass | 8,394,611
  • Continuous process for making ethanol | 5,837,506
  • Continuous process for ethanol production from lignocellulosic materials without mechanical agitation | 5,258,293
  • Distillation process for ethanol | 5,124,004
  • Propagation of microbial cells on single carbon products | 4,425,432


Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

Research Projects

  • Lynd Research Lab

    Lynd Research Lab

    The research lab at Dartmouth led by Professor Lee Lynd is active in research on the following topics:

    • Microbial Cellulose Utilization, including fundamental and applied aspects
    • Metabolic Engineering, focusing on thermophilic cellulolytic bacteria for fuel production
    • Innovative Biomass Processing Technologies, including development, design, and evaluation
    • Sustainable Bioenergy Futures, including resource, environment, and economic development

    We approach these topics from a diversity of academic disciplines with molecular biology, microbiology, chemical/biochemical engineering providing the foundation for the first three. Consistent with the "Pasteur's Quadrant" model articulated by Donald Stokes (Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC, 1997), we see advancing applied capability and increased fundamental understanding as having strong potential to be convergent and mutually-reinforcing, and we aspire to work in this mode.

    A central theme of the Lynd group is processing cellulosic biomass in a single step without added enzymes. Such "consolidated bioprocessing" (CBP) is a potential breakthrough, and "is widely considered to be the ultimate low-cost configuration for cellulose hydrolysis and fermentation" (joint DOE/USDA Roadmap, 2007). We are focused on production of ethanol, a promising renewable fuel. The CBP strategy is however potentially applicable to a very broad range of fuels and chemicals.


Cand I
Some like it hot
Sep 12, 2016
Biofuel Roundup
Mar 07, 2011