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Systems and Synthetic Biology Research

Hand inserts a molecule into DNA concept design.Computer rendering of macrophages attacking cells.

Faculty conducting research in this area include Steven Abel and Cong Trinh.


The research seeks to understand and harness complex cellular systems for industrial biocatalysis and disease prevention through development and application of omics, synthetic biology, systems biology, and metabolic engineering tools. Research topics include development of Modular Cell Design (MODCELL) technology for rapid creation of novel biocatalysts (Trinh), understanding of mechanisms of cellular robustness against environmental perturbation, development of effective defensive tools to boost cellular robustness for applications from disease prevention to novel biocatalysis (Trinh), and application of computational methods to understand stochastic and spatial effects in cell signaling networks (Abel).


Related News

Abel Was Destined To Be a Chemical Engineer
Feature on Steven Abel, including details about his research using theoretical and computational methods to understand how biological cells interact with their environment.

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Cong Trinh Takes Aim at Diseases
Ferguson Faculty Fellow Cong Trinh is developing a method to greatly improve the time involved in both identification and removal of such pathogens through the concept of a Virulent Pathogen Resistance program.

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Davison Elected to AIChE Board of Directors
Brian Davison, CBE adjunct professor, Chief Scientist at ORNL, and Chief Science Officer at the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, was elected to the AIChE’s Board of Directors.

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Featured Publication

Exceptional Solvent Tolerance in Yarrowia lipolytica Is Enhanced by Sterols
Trinh and his research team discovered exceptional solvent tolerance in Yarrowia lipolytica is enhanced by sterols. This finding enables development of next-generation biocatalysts for novel biotransformation in organic solvents. This research is published in Metabolic Engineering.


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