Cell Probe


Cell CAD


Cellular Legos


The Living Bioreactor



The Living Bioreactor theme builds on the concept of a cell as a chemical factory.  In a chemical factory, the structure of reaction vessels and pipelines are designed so as to optimize the synthesis of a specific chemical compound or process (e.g. distillation). In a cell, the structure of organelles has similarly evolved to optimize a subset of biochemical reactions or processes, but may not be optimal for others. If organelles can be engineered to have larger volumes or surface areas, this is predicted to allow them to store more intermediates, handle higher quantities of toxic intermediates, or support greater flux in and out of the compartment.  Metabolic engineers do not currently emphasize the importance of cell or organelle structure in their design processes, and therefore are limited in the extent to which they can optimize production or processing of value chemicals. We will evaluate the extent to which organelle and cell structure can be designed and altered, and how the resulting structures optimize the production of useful chemicals, materials and useful cellular functions.



Mark Chan [Theme Lead]
Engineering control of vacuole morphology

John Dueber
Engineering the peroxisome as a bioreactor

Jennifer Fung
Genetic control of vacuole size; engineering biochemical reactions in vacuoles

Ray Esquerra
Biosensors for cell-based chemical production

Wallace Marshall
Engineering the axoneme as an enzyme array

Orion Weiner
Engineering control of cell lysis

Sara Capponi
Engineering seaweed peroxisome to mitigate climate change