Personal profile

Research Interests

Our research aims to engineer biological systems for compelling applications in medicine and biotechnology. We focus on cell-free systems, with particular emphasis on protein synthesis and metabolism. Engineering cell-free systems both tests our understanding of how life works and generates useful, cost-effective factories for manufacturing human therapeutics and valuable biochemicals that are difficult to make in vivo. Our approach is to integrate fundamental research and engineering design principles with technology development. Our interdisciplinary efforts take advantage of synergies at the crossroads of biological and engineering science. They represent a bottom-up approach to synthetic biology. The key idea is that design and construction of biological systems will become easier and more reliable if we can develop foundational technologies that partition biology into simple modular pieces that we can directly manipulate and control. To this end, it is desirable to reduce the complexity of existing biological systems and remove unnecessary overhead (e.g. unnecessary genes and evolutionary baggage). Cell-free systems, which are decoupled from the genetic architecture of the cell, offer a unique platform to address this need. They reduce complexity, lack structural boundaries, are free from cell viability constraints, and can direct catalytic resources towards a single objective.


  • Artificial life
  • Biotechnology
  • Metabolic control
  • Transcription factor-metabolite interactions
  • Metabolism
  • Integrated systems biology
  • Cellular physiology
  • Protein synthesis
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Synthetic biology
  • Cell-freebiology
  • Cancer

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Proteins Medicine & Life Sciences
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Saccharomyces cerevisiae Medicine & Life Sciences

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Research Output 2002 2018

Controlling cell-free metabolism through physiochemical perturbations

Karim, A. S., Heggestad, J. T., Crowe, S. A. & Jewett, M. C. Jan 1 2018 In : Metabolic Engineering. 45, p. 86-94 9 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Biosynthetic Pathways

Expanding the palette of Streptomyces-based cell-free protein synthesis systems with enhanced yields

Li, J., Wang, H. & Jewett, M. C. Feb 15 2018 In : Biochemical Engineering Journal. 130, p. 29-33 5 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Protein Biosynthesis
Biological Products

A cell-free platform for rapid synthesis and testing of active oligosaccharyltransferases

Schoborg, J. A., Hershewe, J. M., Stark, J. C., Kightlinger, W., Kath, J. E., Jaroentomeechai, T., Natarajan, A., Delisa, M. P. & Jewett, M. C. Jan 1 2017 (Accepted/In press) In : Biotechnology and Bioengineering.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

dolichyl-diphosphooligosaccharide - protein glycotransferase

A Pipeline for Studying and Engineering Single-Subunit Oligosaccharyltransferases

Jaroentomeechai, T., Zheng, X., Hershewe, J., Stark, J. C., Jewett, M. C. & DeLisa, M. P. 2017 Methods in Enzymology. Academic Press Inc., Vol. 597, p. 55-81 27 p. (Methods in Enzymology; vol. 597)

Research output: ResearchChapter

dolichyl-diphosphooligosaccharide - protein glycotransferase
3 Citations

Cogenerating Synthetic Parts toward a Self-Replicating System

Li, J., Haas, W., Jackson, K., Kuru, E., Jewett, M. C., Fan, Z. H., Gygi, S. & Church, G. M. Jul 21 2017 In : ACS Synthetic Biology. 6, 7, p. 1327-1336 10 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Protein Subunits
Isotope Labeling