Rice: Unconventional Wisdom
Placeholder Image

Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic & Systems Biology Laboratory

News and Announcements

The full potential of biological systems remains unrealized due to critical limitations in our ability to engineer and control them. The Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic & Systems Biology Laboratory at Rice University seeks to overcome these limitations by designing and implementing transformational approaches to engineer biological systems, thus enabling applications in energy and chemical production, environmental remediation, pharmaceutical production, and agricultural systems.

Our research program is organized in two general areas: 1) Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology; and 2) Systems Biology of Microbial and Cellular Metabolism. Our laboratory has successfully:

engineered a functional reversal of the β-oxidation cycle as an efficient platform for the synthesis of higher-chain (C ≥ 4) fuels and chemicals;

established a new metabolic engineering platform for the production of fuels and chemicals using glycerol as the carbon source;

discovered that E. coli and other bacteria can anaerobically ferment glycerol, a previously unknown metabolic capability of these organisms, establishing a new paradigm for the fermentative metabolism of glycerol in bacteria; and

developed and used systems biology tools to achieve an improved understanding of carbon and energy metabolism in bacterial and mammalian cell cultures.