Rice: Unconventional Wisdom
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Metabolic Engineering and Biomanufacturing Laboratory

María Rodríguez-Moyá

Maria Rodriguez


B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, 2008.
Ph.D., Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University, 2013 (expected).


Project Description

Systems biology and metabolic engineering strategies for the production of platform chemicals by Escherichia coli
Recent fluctuations in oil prices and the undesired gas emissions from operation of petrochemical industries have sparked widespread interest in the production of carbon-based chemicals from renewable sources.  The development of microbial “cell factories” to complement fossil-based chemicals currently produced by petrochemical industries offers an economically feasible and environmentally friendly alternative for the production of renewable chemicals.

A combination of systems biology and metabolic engineering approaches will provide valuable information about key genes and proteins that could power new hypothesis and new cycles of engineering for the improvement of cellular properties that favor the production of the proposed chemicals.

The overall goal of my work is the application of systems biology tools, mainly Transcriptomic (DNA Microarrays) and Proteomic (2D-Gel Electrophoresis) techniques, to guide metabolic engineering strategies for the development of novel bioprocesses that efficiently convert glucose into platform chemicals, such as short-chain fatty acids, methylketones, and pyrones.  These goals are being achieved by elucidating inhibition and production mechanisms of the proposed platform chemicals in E. coli using systems-level approaches; establishing metabolic determinants of efficient product synthesis and tolerance; and genetically engineering E. coli for the production of the proposed platform.



Vergara, M., Becerra, S., Berrios, J., Osses, N., Reyes, J., Rodriguez-Moya, M., Gonzalez, R. Altamirano, C. (2014). Differential effect of culture temperature and specific growth rate on CHO cell behavior in chemostat culture. PLoS ONE. 9(4): e93865. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093865.

Cintolesi A.*, Rodriguez-Moya, M.*, and Gonzalez, R. (2013). Fatty Acid Oxidation: Systems Analysis and Applications. WIREs System Biology and Medicine, DOI: 10.1002/wsbm.1226. *Equal Contributions

Clomburg, J.M., Vick, J.E., Blankschien, M. D., Rodriguez-Moya, M., Gonzalez, R. (2012). A synthetic biology approach to engineer a functional reversal of the beta-oxidation cycle. ACS Synthetic Biology. (MS Accepted). 10.1021/sb3000782

Park, J.*, Rodríguez-Moyá, M.*, Li, M., Pichersky, E., San, K-Y., Gonzalez, R. (2012). Synthesis of methyl ketones by metabolically engineered Escherichia coli. J. Indust. Microbiol. Biotechnol. (Manuscript Accepted for Publication). *Equal Contributions.

Rodriguez-Moya, M., and Gonzalez, R. (2010). Systems biology approaches for the microbial production of biofuels. Biofuels, 1(2): 291–310.

Contact Information

Abercrombie Lab, C124
Rice University
6100 Main Street MS-362
Houston, TX, 77005