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Cong T. Trinh

Assistant Professor


Cong T. Trinh received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering (with summa cum laude, honors thesis) at the University of Houston and earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.  To continue his interests in biofuels research, he has worked at the Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California, Berkeley as a postdoctoral scholar.   His research interests focus on understanding and engineering cellular metabolism with the ultimate goal to design, construct, and characterize cells with optimized metabolic functionalities.  These engineered cells are utilized as efficient and robust whole-cell biocatalysts exhibiting only desirable properties specifically tailored for biotechnological applications related to energy, health, and environment.


  • Inverse metabolic engineering; systems and synthetic biology
  • Metabolic network modeling; experimental metabolic flux quantification
  • Rational design and optimization of complex heterologous metabolic pathways using in-vivo and in-vitro systems
  • Cell physiology and advanced fermentation
  • Synthesis of advanced biofuels and biochemicals from biomass-derived feedstocks and biodiesel waste, glycerol by using robust and efficient engineered whole-cell biocatalysts


Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities: (Bio)chemical engineering; Systems and synthetic biology; Metabolic engineering; Development of modular microbial cell factories; Biofuels and Bioenergy.

Professional Service

  • Member of American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • Member of American Institution of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
  • Member of Society of Industrial Microbiology (SIM)

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2017 ASEE New Research Awardee
  • 2017 DARPA Young Faculty Awardee
  • 2010 Best Poster Award at Metabolic Engineering VIII:  Metabolic Engineering for Green Growth, Jeju Island, Republic of Korea.
  • 2007 Best Poster Award at LifeScience Alley Conference and Expo, Minnesota.


  • Trinh, C.T., Huffer, S., Clark, M., Blanch, B., Clark, D., 2010. "Elucidating Mechanisms of Solvent Toxicity in ethanologenicEscherichia coli," Biotechnol Bioeng 106(5):721-730.
  • Unrean, P., Trinh, C.T., Srienc, F., 2010.  "Rational design and construction of an efficient E. coli for production of diapolycopendioic acid,"  Metab Eng 12(2):112-122.
  • Jevremovic, D., Trinh, C.T., Srienc, F., Boley, D., 2010. "On Algebraic Properties of Extreme Pathways in Metabolic Networks," J Comp Biol 17(2):107-19.
  • Trinh, C.T., Srienc, F., 2009. "Metabolic Engineering of Escherichia colifor Efficient Conversion of Glycerol into Ethanol,"  Appl Environ Microbiol 75(21): 6696-6705.
  • Trinh, C.T., Wlaschin, A.P., Srienc, F., 2009. "Metabolic Pathway Analysis: A Useful Tool for Characterizing Cellular Metabolism,"  Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 81(5): 813-826.
  • Trinh, C.T., Unrean, P., Srienc, F., 2008. "A minimal Escherichia colicell for most efficient ethanol production from hexoses and pentoses," Appl Environ Microbiol 74: 3634-3643.
  • Trinh, C.T., Carlson, R., Wlaschin, A.P., Srienc, F., 2006. "Design, construction and performance of the most efficient biomass producingE. coli bacterium," Metab Eng 8: 628-638.
  • Wlaschin, A.P., Trinh, C.T., Carlson, R., Srienc, F., 2006. "The fractional contributions of elementary modes to the metabolism of E. coli and their estimation from reaction entropies."  Metab Eng 8: 338-352.
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Contact Information

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