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Dr Emzo De Los Santos

Job Title
Research Fellow
Life Sciences
Web Link
Research Interests

Synthetic biology aims towards the rational and predictable design of novel biological systems. It does this by applying engineering principles in combining biological parts from different sources. Because these genes are placed outside their natural context and are oftentimes not naturally found together, ensuring functionality can be challenging. My research focuses on accelerating this process of transitioning between natural systems and synthetic ones. I'm specifically interested in natural product biosynthesis and the ways which bacteria are able to create complex small molecules.

My research has computational and experimental aspects. On the computational side, I'm designing ways to analyze the large sets of genomic data to identify sets of genes that can potentially make interesting compounds that have medical or agrochemical value. My experimental interests are on packaging these sets of genes as different modules that can communicate with each other. This tests our understanding of the principles learned in studying the biosynthesis of these natural products. We can do this through a combination of in vitro and in vivo techniques. Ultimately, creating these modules will make them easier to engineer and facilitate our ability to produce synthetic "natural" products.


S.B. in Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2009)
PhD. in Bioengineering, California Institute of Technology (2015)