Lonnie Ingram is Distinguished Professor, UF/IFAS Microbiology and Cell Science Department, University of Florida. He is also Director of the Florida Center for Renewable Chemicals and Fuels at the University of Florida.
He received his B.S. Degree in biology from the University of South Carolina at Columbia in 1969. He was awarded his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in 1971 and performed post-doctoral service at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Biology Division in 1971-72.
Dr. Ingram’s research has centered on the production of ethanol for automotive fuels and value added chemicals from renewable cellulosic waste materials (yard trash, sugar cane bagasse, citrus pulp, etc.).
His research has been reported in over 200 publications concerning various aspects of biotechnology with more than 20 issued national and international patents, including the U.S. Landmark Patent No. 5,000,000, a unique invention of using engineered bacteria to convert biomass to ethanol. Research from this UF program has been presented by invitation at more than 80 national and international symposia.
Dr. Ingram is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Society for Microbiology, a fellow of the Society of Industrial Microbiology, and elected member of the American Academy of Microbiology Board of Governors.
His research achievements have been recognized by the USDA in the form of the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award presented for research by USDA. Ingram has been recognized by the Florida Small Business Development Center as a Distinguished Inventor, the SE American Society for Microbiology with the P.R. Edwards Award, and with the University of Florida’s Professorial Excellence and Research Foundation Professorship awards. He was also awarded the 2007 C.D. Scott Award for distinguished contributions to the field of biotechnology for fuels and chemicals at the 29th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, and more recently, the 2008 Distinguished Scientist Award by the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA).
In addition, Dr. Ingram frequently serves as an advisor to programs in the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, and biotechnology industries. He was invited as an advisor to President George W. Bush on cellulosic ethanol.
His contributions to science were highlighted in the National Research Council Report entitled “Biobased Industrial Products: Priorities for Research and Commercialization”. He is a member of the Advisory Group of the Florida Energy Commission on Renewable Energy and of the Florida Governor’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change.
Dr. Ingram and his co-workers were the first in the world to develop genetically engineered E. coli bacteria capable of converting all sugar types found in plant cell walls into fuel ethanol. Ingram’s organism produces a high yield of ethanol from biomass such as sugarcane residues, rice hulls, forestry and wood wastes and other organic materials.
Ingram’s breakthrough in bioconversion technology was selected to become Landmark Patent No. 5,000,000 by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
More than 30 additional patents are pending or have been issued for this technology, which is being commercialized with assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy. Verenium Corp., based in Cambridge, Mass., holds exclusive rights to use and license the UF-engineered bacteria, dubbed “K011” by Ingram.