Living things can perform some truly amazing chemistry at a level of sophistication that humans simply can’t match. Our team investigates how nature does this chemistry, and how it can be applied in useful applications, such as cleaning up the environment, sensing pollutants and other chemicals, and producing useful chemicals.
We are also interested in the evolution and engineering of new biochemical functions. In nature, these functions can evolve over a remarkably short span of time. In the lab, we can accelerate this process using state-of-the-art design methods and high-throughput laboratory automation.
Building on the development of new biochemical activities, we implement these activities using synthetic biology and metabolic engineering approaches to re-design living cells, converting them into microbial cell factories that make industrially useful biochemicals.
Our current research areas include
- Enzymes and microbes that clean up pollution and treat waste
- Whole-cell and cell-free biocatalysts for the production of proteins, pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals and plastics/polymers
- Biological sensors that detect small molecules, such as pollutants
- Development and implementation of synthetic biology tools for microbial cell factories
- Automated methods for the design and assembly of new proteins and fermentation organisms