Catherine Asleson

Englewood, CO, US
Field of Work 
Gevo, Inc.
Job Title or "Student" 
Director, BioCatalyst Development
U of Minnesota, U of Nebraska
Education Level 
Profile Biography 
Inspiration: In the 8th grade, I read Wrinkle in Time and Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle and became obsessed with mitochondria (the main character's mother was a microbiologist). I am proud to say that my first published paper was on a mitochondrial gene and, even after 33 years, I work on glycolysis--only one biochemical reaction upstream.

Career Path: For the past 20+ years, my focus has been eukaryotic genetics and molecular biology, including baker's yeast, nonconventional yeast, and algae. I am currently the Director of Biocatalyst Development for the advanced biofuel company, Gevo, Inc., near Denver, CO. Prior to joining Gevo, I was the Molecular Biology Group Leader at NatureWorks, LLC/Cargill Biotechnology Development Center--BioIndustrials. For the past 12 years, my primary research focus has been developing yeast biocatalysts for the production of lactic acid, ethanol, and butanols from both glucose and cellulosic sugars. I received a B.S. degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Ph.D. in molecular, cellular, developmental biology and genetics from the University of Minnesota.

Future Goals: I feel very fortunate that not once, but twice, I have worked on projects to translate the promise of biotechnology to the industrial scale. I am proud to go to the store with my children and buy everyday things packaged in the polymer that their Mom helped make. My current goal is to drive my car or to ride in an airplane fueled from isobutanol-derived molecules
Pets, Sports
Race & Ethnicity 
Level of Participation 
After-school visit, In-school visit, Online role model, Summer camp visit
My Experience 
I have been a Role Model 3-4 times.
No Preference
Program Affiliation 

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