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Trash on Beach

Engineering Oleaginous Yeast for Oleochemical Production from Low Value and Waste Substrates


This project encompasses the most mature work from the Blenner Lab. We develop the synthetic biology toolsets necessary to accelerate metabolic engineering of Yarrowia lipolytica and other lipid producing microbes. We have engineered the production of several oleochemicals using low-value substrates (e.g., lignin and methanol) and waste (e.g., urine, waste plastic). The resulting processes result in sustainable routes to making chemicals, fuels, and materials.

Team: Mike Spagnuolo, Siva Somasundaram, Phil Gitman, Richa Guleria, Jaya Gupta, Derron Ma, Rachel Silvestri

Collaborators: Ian Wheeldon, Wilfred Chen.

Image by Chris Abney

Engineering Yarrowia lipolytica for Natural Products Biosynthesis

Sponsored by: NIH, NDSEG

This project uses oleaginous yeast as a host for the production of complex plant-derived natural products with unusual therapeutic potential. We are building platforms for making a diverse array of compounds that have anti-cancer, anti-hypertension, and anti-addiction properties. We combine scalable synthetic biology, novel tools for pathway flux optimization, and biochemical insights to make products at much higher titers than has been reported previously. The use of microbial systems enables system scaling and avoids the uncertainty of agricultural sourcing. 

Team: Ayushi Agrawal, Vijay Ganesan, Phil O'Dell, Anthony Storhr, Derron Ma, Phil Gitman

Collaborators: Yinjie Tang, Deepti Tanjore

Pipetting Samples

Enhancing Mammalian Cell Line Development for Biopharmaceuticals using Synthetic Biology and Systems Biology


Epigenetics and cell heterogeneity

Autonomous inducer-free transcriptional control 

AAV Production

Bispecific Antibody Production

Team: Spencer Grissom, Emily Doleh, Austin Morgan

Collaborators: Marc Birtwistle, Abhi Singh, Seongkyu Yoon, Jamie Spangler

Image by Robert Gunnarsson

Plastic Degradation and Upcycling by the Microbes from Insect Microbiomes

Sponsors: DOE, FICUS, NIH T32, CPI

Team: Ross Klauer, Lummy Monteiro, Jyoti Singh, Alex Hansen, Derek Wu

Collaborators: Kevin Solomon, Yinjie Tang, LaShanda Korley, Zach Hinton, Adam Guss, Carrie Eckert, Bill Alexander.

Image by Robin Glauser

Environmental Sensing by Microbes & Microbial Communities

Sponsors: DARPA, DOE

Team: Jyoti Singh, Lummy Monteiro, Richa Guleria, Austin Morgan

Collaborators: Julie Maresca

Research: Research
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