A Vital Link to Fight Climate Change 

Carbon transformation company LanzaTech has relied on a pipeline of students and alumni from MBP to help in its efforts to save the planet. 

LanzaTech is trying to save the human race from climate-change devastation, and it routinely has turned to Northwestern Engineering's Master of Biotechnology Program (MBP) for help.   

Located in Skokie, Ill., just five miles west of the Northwestern University campus, LanzaTech is working to take carbon emissions and turn them into everything from jet fuel to shampoo bottles.  

Nick Fackler Nick Fackler is a lead scientist at LanzaTech, where he has worked for the past six years. During that time, Fackler has worked with more than a dozen MBP students and five of the program's graduates are his colleagues.  

“I've been very impressed by the quality of MBP students,” he said. “They tend to be very inquisitive, strong communicators, and motivated by the research environment.” 

That research environment at LanzaTech is one devoted to helping save the planet. The company's carbon recycling technology feeds emissions to trillions of carbon-craving microbes. These tiny creatures transform the potentially harmful gas into raw materials for sustainable fuels, fabrics, packaging, and more.  

Fackler said he enjoys collaborating with the five MBP graduates currently working across the company’s synthetic biology and process integration teams. His experience with the program’s students started at almost the same time he began his career with LanzaTech.  

In 2017, Fackler joined the company after a four-year stint at science and technology development nonprofit Battelle. In his first year at his new company, Fackler served as mentor to Damien Doser (MBP '18) while Doser completed research with Fackler’s team.  

So positive was the relationship that Fackler and Doser went on to co-author a paper together.  

Since that time, Fackler has continued to find MBP’s graduates to be impressive.   

“MBP students are very well-rounded professionals with experience that ranges from molecular biology to fermentation scale-up,” he said. “My role allows me to support anyone interested in DNA sequencing workflows, which has applied to most of our interns."  

In addition to his work mentoring and overseeing MBP students, Fackler shares perspectives from the industry with MBP leadership to help ensure it continues to train students ready to work on the cutting edge of biotechnology — a place where LanzaTech now comfortably resides.  

LanzaTech went public on Feb. 10, becoming the first publicly traded carbon capture and transformation company in the United States.  

Fackler said he hopes to bring more MBP graduates to the company as it continues to grow. He said the best way MBP students can help make that happen is by focusing on more than just the biotech part of their education.   

“Cultivate your soft skills like organization, communication, and curiosity,” he said. “The most impactful research involves members of more than one specialty, and the ability to collaborate across sciences hinges on clear communication to organize and develop ideas.”  


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