Recent Graduate Spotlight: Lauren Jabusch

Lauren Jabusch UC Davis Ph.D Biological and Agricultural Engineering

By BAE Staff

Lauren Jabusch has been passionate about sustainability and outreach since her early days as a freshman at UC Davis. Nearly a decade later, she has earned a bachelor’s, master’s and, most recently, a doctoral degree in biosystems engineering, all from the UC Davis Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.

Collaborating with biological and agricultural engineering professor and biofuels expert, Jean VanderGheynst and biotechnology partners, Heliae Development, LLC and Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Labs, Lauren worked to determine the impact of algae grazers and a probiotic treatment to thwart algae grazers on algae production. Her research also explored biomass pretreatment for biofuel production using native microbes and enzymes, the composition of algae cell wall for the potential conversion to biofuels and the use of silica-degrading enzymes for reducing wear-and-tear on rice equipment. Now a postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lauren investigates the interactions between soil microbes and plants.

While at UC Davis, Lauren became known not only for her research in biofuels and sustainability but for her environmental activism and mentoring efforts. She served as a graduate fellow for a local, K-12 educational outreach program funded by the National Science Foundation. During her time as a Renewable Energy Systems Opportunity for Unified Research, Collaboration and Education (RESOURCE) fellow, Lauren translated her research on biofuels derived from algae into the Sacramento Region’s sixth-grade science curriculum. She also made contributions to the Sacramento Elementary Math Engineering Science Achievement program and to a local STEM for Girls program.

Deepening her efforts in sustainability, in 2015 Lauren was named a Carbon Neutrality Initiative Communications and Engagement Fellow by the University of California’s Office of the President, where she promoted broader student participation in climate work, including sharing best practices and tracking the progress of student-aimed sustainability programs at all ten UC campuses. Lauren continues to support the initiative, which aims to support the UC system’s goal to produce zero-net greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

As a graduate student, Lauren also served on the Board of Directors for the Power Shift Network (PSN), where she helped develop PSN’s Frontlines to Power program, which continues to trains young people of color to run for political office. Lauren was also heavily involved with the California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) at UC Davis, a network of university student organizations that promote sustainability. As Chair, Lauren helped organize coalition conferences, coordinates campus workshops on sustainability and helped create student-led public lectures. Her work earned her a UC Davis Chancellor’s Award for Diversity and Community in 2015 and a UC President’s Award for Outstanding Student Leadership in 2016.