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EMSL Science Area Leader Elected American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellow

Scott Baker recognized for pioneering fungal genomics sequencing.

Genoa Blankenship |
Scott Baker in protective eyewear behind fungi sample

Scott Baker, a fungal biotechnology scientist who leads the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory’s Functional and Systems Biology science area, has been elected to the 2024 American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows. (Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Scott Baker, who leads the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory’s Functional and Systems Biology science area, has been named an American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) Fellow.

Baker was elected to the 2024 College of Fellows for “pioneering contributions in the fields of fungal genomics and biotechnology with applications to the environment, society, and sustainable biomanufacturing.”

This year’s College of Fellows includes 162 scientists who have made significant contributions to medical and biological engineering. AIMBE’s mission is to advance the understanding of medical and biological engineering and to accelerate medical and biological innovation.

Baker was nominated by Michelle O’Malley, a chemical engineer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who is also an Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory user. O’Malley’s nomination highlights Baker’s impact in fungal genomics and fungal biotechnology and for pioneering the use of next-generation DNA sequencing technologies in fungi for the association of classical genetic mutations with physical loci.

O’Malley specifically recognizes Baker’s advocacy for the sequencing of a diversity of fungal genomes and for helping to establish the Joint Genome Institute Fungal Genomics Program. Baker’s most recent genome project involved sequencing every species in Aspergillus, or “whole genus sequencing.” This sequencing is expected to improve the understanding of the evolution of fungal species and the identification of novel secondary metabolite pathways and enzymes.

Baker, who is a fungal biotechnology scientist and joint appointee with the Department of Energy Joint BioEnergy Institute, translates omics information into insights related to fungal biology and fungal biotechnology. He has authored more than 150 publications and has five issued patents on gene regulation and strain engineering of fungi.

As an AIMBE Fellow, Baker is looking forward to contributing ideas and advocating for research priorities in biological engineering.

“I would like to us utilize biodiversity to enable a robust bioeconomy,” explains Baker. “To do that, we need to understand and harness the resiliency of biological systems for the production of useful products.”

Learn more about the AIMBE fellowship.