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Lecture of Prof. Mattheos Koffas for Visiting Jiangsu University

Dr. Mattheos Koffas,

Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, RPI

Lecture for Students and Teachers

Title: Engineering the in vivo and in vitro biosynthesis of natural products using metabolic engineering

Time: Jun.14, 2019, 15:00

Place: Meeting room 203, School of Food and Biological Engineering.

Introduction to Dr. Mattheos Koffas:

Professor Mattheos Koffas is an international well-known scholar in the field of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. His research interests are in the area of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology with a special emphasis on tool and strain development for the efficient production of high value and commodity chemicals. He received his PhD in Biochemical Engineering from M.I.T. in 2000, and served in DuPont Central Research from 2001 to 2002 and worked in the SUNY at Buffalo from 2003 to 2010. In 2011, he joined RPI as a Career Development Associate Professor and was promoted to full Professor in 2015. Professor Koffas and his research group have published 100 peer-reviewed journal publications in journals including PNAS, Nature Communications, Metabolic Engineering, Nucleic Acids Research and others. His work, presented in the form of more than 100 invited and contributed lectures, has been featured in the National Public Radio. He serves as Academic Editor for Biotechnology Advances, Metabolic Engineering Communications, BMC Plant Biology and editorial board member for Metabolic Engineering and Current Opinion in Biotechnology. He has chaired two international conferences in the area of Biomolecular Engineering.


A long theme in the field of metabolic engineering has been the identification of targets for genetic modifications in order to optimize cellular phenotypes, usually associated with the overproduction of a chemical of interest. In order to address this question and for the purpose of reprogramming the cellular network, we employ in silico model of the genome-wide metabolism in order to optimize the biosynthesis of high-value chemicals, such as phytochemicals, in E.coli. Such Systems Biology approaches, in combination with traditional genetic engineering have resulted in robust production levels that can result in the commercially viable processes for the synthesis of important molecules. However, often times, there is a need to further balance metabolic pathways in order to address the issue of metabolic burden, i.e. the draining of cellular resources in order to overexpress a recombinant pathway. Such metabolic pathway balancing has been achieved in our lab for the overproduction of chemicals that derive from long metabolic pathways, such as fatty acids, using episomal expression with vectors of different copy numbers, different strength promoters and different strength ribosome binding sites. It has also been achieved by engineering of feedback controls for dynamic tuning of metabolic fluxes around key intracellular metabolites, such as malonyl-CoA, using a dual transcriptional regulator.

More recently, the use of synthetic microbial consortia has been employed to achieve metabolic balancing, opening up the possibility for the de novo production of a multitude of high-value chemicals. Finally, recent advances in engineering the development of a biotechnological production platform for the production of Glycosaminoglycans such as the anticoagulant drug heparin will also be presented.

(School of Food and Biological Engineering)


Returns〗 Hits: Date:2019-06-13
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