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Faculty

Milan Mrksich

Milan Mrksich

Henry Wade Rogers Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry and Cell and Molecular Biology

847-467-0472

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Milan Mrksich is the Henry Wade Rogers Professor with appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Cell & Molecular Biology at Northwestern University. He received his PhD in 1994 from Caltech and then completed postdoctoral studies as American Cancer Society Fellow at Harvard University. Dr. Mrksich’s lab is a leader in developing materials that enable discovery and problem-solving in the life sciences. He has developed surface chemistries that mimic the extracellular matrix and has used these to discover ligands that mediate adhesion and signaling in adherent cells and that provide opportunities for integrating the functions of cells with materials. He has also developed the SAMDI mass spectrometry method that allows high throughput characterization of enzyme function, and has commercialized that technology to support drug development. His lab focuses on evaluating large numbers of enzyme systems to identify and optimize those that can efficiently produce target molecules of interest. Dr. Mrksich has published more than 175 manuscripts, was appointed as an HHMI Investigator, and is the recipient of the Searle Scholar Award, the ACS Cope Scholar Award, the TR100 Young Innovator Award, the Sloan Award, and the Camille-Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award.  

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Michael Jewett

Michael Jewett

Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

847-467-5007

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Michael Jewett is an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University. He received his PhD in 2005 from Stanford University. He joined Northwestern in 2009 after completing postdoctoral studies as an NSF International Research Fellow at the Center for Microbial Biotechnology in Denmark and as an NIH Pathway to Independence Fellow at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Jewett’s lab is developing cell-free biology as an enabling technology for biomanufacturing lifesaving therapeutics, sustainable chemicals, and novel materials, both quickly and on-demand. His lab focuses on designing, constructing, and modifying biological systems involved in protein synthesis and metabolism, with promise to advance new paradigms for synthetic biology. Dr. Jewett is the recipient of the NIH Pathway to Independence Award, David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, the DARPA Young Faculty Award, the Agilent Early Career Professor Award, the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, and the Camille-Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award.

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Joshua Leonard

Joshua Leonard

Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

847-491-7455

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Joshua N. Leonard is an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University. Leonard received a BS from Stanford University in 2000, and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. Leonard then trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Experimental Immunology Branch of the National Cancer Institute, and he joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 2008. Leonard’s research group engineers novel biological systems that perform customized, sophisticated functions for applications in biotechnology and medicine. Using the tools of mammalian synthetic biology, biomolecular engineering, and systems biology, the group develops technologies including programmable cell-based “devices” that probe and modulate immune responses in a patient- and disease-specific fashion. Applications include new treatments for cancer, programmable smart vaccines, and new gene therapy platforms. The Leonard group is advancing the frontiers of design-based medicine to address unmet medical needs and improve both quantity and quality of life. Dr. Leonard is recipient of an NIH Cancer Research Training Award, the 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award, the Clarence Ver Steen Graduate Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring, and has testified as an expert witness before the U.S. House of Representatives on “21st Century Biology.” He also co-directs a graduate cluster in Biotechnology, Systems, and Synthetic Biology and founded Northwestern’s international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) team.

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Keith Tyo

Keith Tyo

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

847-868-0319

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Keith E.J. Tyo is assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University. Keith received his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was an NIH National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellow at Chalmers University, Sweden. At Northwestern, Keith co-directs the Recombinant Protein Production Core Facility and has launched the Global Health and Sustainability Biotechnologies certificate in the Masters of Biotechnology Program (MBP). Keith’s research interests are at the intersection of synthetic biology and global health. Working toward low cost healthcare diagnostics, the Tyo lab has developed a platform to enable microbes to detect important clinical biomarkers. His group aims to enable cell-based distributed diagnostics that could allow for much better diagnosis and treatment for HIV, TB, and malaria in impoverished, rural settings. To reduce the cost of drug synthesis, his group engineers microbes to produce non-natural drugs (at a reduced cost to chemical synthesis). Keith’s work has appeared in Science, Nature Biotechnology, BMC Biology, and other publications. Keith has received many accolades, including the National Science Foundation CAREER award, the Institute for Sustainability and the Environment at Northwestern Early Career award, and the National Institutes of Health Transformative Research Award.

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Neda Bagheri

Neda Bagheri

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

847-491-2716

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Assistant professor Neda Bagheri actively sought inter- and transdisciplinary research opportunities throughout her academic career. She began her training as an electrical engineer at the University of California, Santa Barbara and transitioned to biological engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her postdoctoral work. She launched her academic career at Northwestern University in 2012, leading the development of computational algorithms and models that inform both the understanding and regulation of emergent biological function. Specific research interests include uncovering fundamental intra- and inter-cellular properties governing aging, cancer, cell fate, and immune responses. Thus far, she has established productive collaborations within engineering, medicine-hematology/oncology, medicine-pulmonary, chemistry, and cell and molecular biology. Beyond Northwestern, the greater scientific community regards professor Bagheri as a thought leader; she has participated in numerous grand challenge workshops and has served on international and domestic conference programming committees. She regularly embraces STEM outreach activities and fosters a lab environment that operates at the intersection of engineering, science, and medicine.

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Julius B. Lucks

Julius B. Lucks

Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

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Julius B. Lucks is an Associate Professor in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at Northwestern University. He received his PhD from Harvard University as a Hertz Fellow, and completed his postdoctoral studies as a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. His research combines both experiment and theory to ask fundamental questions about the design principles that govern how RNAs fold and function in living organisms, and how these principles can be used to engineer biomolecular systems. His group has pioneered the development of RNA-based synthetic genetic circuits as well as SHAPE-Seq – a technology that uses next generation sequencing to characterize RNA structures in unprecedented throughput that is being used to uncover the role of RNA structure in regulating fundamental cellular processes across the genome. His lab focuses on dynamically programming cellular behavior with synthetic RNA circuitry, and using/developing SHAPE-Seq to understand RNA folding dynamics in the cell. For his pioneering research efforts, he has been named a DARPA Young Faculty Awardee, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow, an ONR Young Investigator, an NIH New Innovator, an NSF CAREER awardee, and is the recipient of the 2016 ACS Synthetic Biology Young Investigator Award.

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Danielle Tullman Ercek

Danielle Tullman Ercek

Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

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Danielle Tullman-Ercek is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University. Danielle received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. She carried out postdoctoral research at UCSF and the Joint Bioenergy Institute, while part of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In 2009, she joined the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering faculty at the University of California Berkeley, where she held the Charles Wilke Endowed Chair of Chemical Engineering and later the Merck Chair of Biochemical Engineering. In 2016, she moved her lab to Northwestern University. Her research focuses on building biomolecular devices for applications in bioenergy, living batteries, and drug delivery, and she is particularly interested in engineering multi-protein complexes, such as the machines that transport proteins and small molecules across cellular membranes. She is a member of the Engineering Biology Research Center (formerly the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center), and was awarded an NSF CAREER award for her work on the construction of bacterial organelles using protein membranes.

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Arthur Prindle

Arthur Prindle

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics

312-503-4344

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Arthur Prindle is an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics in the Feinberg School of Medice, Northwestern University. Dr. Prindle received his BS in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology and a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego, during which time he also pursued projects at the Koch Institute at MIT. His honors include a CASI fellowship from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Aspen Center for Physics Travel Award. He is currently a Simons Foundation fellow of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation. His research interests are focused in understanding the principles behind how bacteria communicate within biofilm communities.

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Neha Kamat

Neha Kamat

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

847-467-2671

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Neha Kamat is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. Neha received her B.S. in Bioengineering from Rice University, her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed her postdoctoral training as a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital. Her research group uses techniques in membrane biophysics, microscopy, and membrane reconstitution to assemble artificial cells. Her lab asks fundamental questions about how membrane properties affect membrane protein activities and they design new technologies that harness membrane biophysical changes to execute complex chemical behaviors, like reaction initiation or molecular release.

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