Rice: Unconventional Wisdom
Placeholder Image

Metabolic Engineering and Biomanufacturing Laboratory

Seokjung Cheong



B.S., Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 2011.

Ph.D., Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University, 2016 (expected).



Project Description

Due to high oil price, sustained availability and environmental concerns, the demand of fuels and chemicals derived from renewable biomass is booming. Under that context, our lab has successfully engineered the functional reversal of β-oxidation pathway through metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. This engineered pathway can synthesize biofuel and chemicals such as n-butanol, higher alcohols and fatty acid more efficiently than traditional fatty acid synthesis pathway, owing to lower energy cost, and has the great potential to meet the industrial and market demand.

However, the product range of the engineered reverse β-oxidation pathway is still limited. Thus, my project deals with constructing a modified reverse β-oxidation pathway to produce n-alcohols or carboxylic acids with functionalized or substituted group. This can be achieved through using the desired functionalized or substituted primers, or post-synthesis functionalization and substitution with metabolic engineering and synthetic biology technology. My main product would be α,ω-dicarboxylic acids and α,ω-diols.


Kim, S., Cheong, S., Chou, A., Gonzalez, R. (2016). Engineered fatty acid catabolism for fuel and chemical production. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 42, 206-215. doi:10.1016/j.copbio.2016.07.004.

Cheong, S., Clomburg, J.M., Gonzalez, R. (2016). Energy- and carbon-efficient synthesis of functionalized small molecules in bacteria using non-decarboxylative Claisen condensation reactions. Nature Biotechnology. doi:10.1038/nbt.3505.

Kim, S., Cheong, S., Gonzalez, R. (2016). Engineering Escherichia coli for the synthesis of short- and medium-chain α,β-unsaturated carboxylic acids. Metabolic Engineering. doi:10.1016/j.ymben.2016.03.005.

Contact Information

Abercrombie Lab, C124
Rice University
6100 Main Street MS-362
Houston, TX, 77005
Fax (713) 348-5478