Metabolic Engineering 12

Systems Metabolic Engineering for Superior Bio-Production
June 24-28, 2018

The Metabolic Engineering Conference is the world-leading conference to share premium developments and achievements in the field. The theme of this year's conference is systems metabolic engineering for superior bio-production.  The conference is chaired by Christoph Wittmann and Oskar Zelder.

The Metabolic Engineering Conference is the world-leading conference to share premium developments and achievements in the field. The theme of this year's conference was systems metabolic engineering for superior bio-production. Download Brochure

Conference Chairs:

  • Christoph Wittmann, Saarland University
  • Oskar Zelder, BASF


  • Hal Alper, University of Texas, Austin
  • Roel Bovenberg, DSM
  • Akihiko Kondo, Kobe University
  • Uwe Sauer, ETH Zurich
  • Hiroshi Shimizu, Osaka University
  • Christina Smolke, Stanford University

Plenary Speakers:

  • Frances Arnold, California Institute of Technology
  • Martin Brudermüller, BASF

Keynote Speakers:

Session 1: Systems biology and multi omics insights: Jens Nielsen, Chalmers University

Session 2: Synthetic biology and genome editing: Kristala Prather, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Session 3: Metabolic engineering concepts: Michael Lynch, Duke University

Session 4: Design and assembly of metabolic pathways: Matthew Chang, National Universtiy of Singapore

Session 5: Metabolic engineering of microoganisms: Christina Smolke,  Stanford University

Session 6: Metabolic engineering of higher eukaryotic cells: Martin Fussenegger, ETH Zurich

Session 7: From lab to industry - high value molecules for health and nutrition: Jay Keasling, University of California, Berkley

Session 8: From lab to industry - big volume chemicals, fuels and materials: Sang-Yup Lee, KAIST

Session 9: On the horizon: Emerging Technologies and Roadmap to Metabolic Engineering 2035: Greg Stephanopoulos, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Workshop I: Tools for Commercial Bioprocess Design, Economic Analysis, and Scale-up: Nelson Barton, Genomatica

Workshop II: Modelling Concepts in Metabolic Engineering: Costas Maranas, Pennsylvania State University 


Featured Speakers

Hal Alper

Dr. Hal Alper is the Paul D. & Betty Robertson Meek Centennial Professor in Chemical Engineering and Frank A. Liddell, Jr. Centennial Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006 and was a postdoctoral research associate at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research from 2006-2008, and at Shire Human Genetic Therapies from 2007-2008. He is currently the Principal Investigator of the Laboratory for Cellular and Metabolic Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin where his lab focuses on applying and extending the approaches of related fields such as synthetic biology, systems biology, and protein engineering.Read more

Frances Hamilton Arnold

Frances Arnold is the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at Caltech, where her research focuses on protein engineering by directed evolution, with applications in alternative energy, chemicals, and medicine. Dr. Arnold pioneered the ‘directed evolution’ of proteins, mimicking Darwinian evolution in the laboratory to create new biological molecules. Her laboratory has developed protein evolution methods that are used widely in industry and basic science to engineer proteins with new and useful properties.Read more

Nelson Barton

Nelson has served as Genomatica’s Senior Vice President of Research and Development since October 2015, after joining in October 2011 as Vice President of Research and Development. Nelson leads R&D from ideation through technology transfer as well as continuing to advance the company’s technology platform and has helped commercialize biobased versions of two major chemicals, 1,4-butanediol and 1,3-butylene glycol. From 2000 to 2011, Nelson held several roles at Verenium Corporation (formerly Diversa Corporation), including Vice President, R&D from 2008 to 2009, Sr. Vice...Read more

Lars Blank

Lars M. Blank studied Chemical Engineering from 1990 to 1997 at the University of Dortmund (Germany) and Biology from 1992 to 1997 at the Ruhr-University of Bochum (Germany). During his master theses he worked in the field of Metabolic Engineering in the group of Prof. E. T. Papoutsakis at Northwestern University, IL, USA and in yeast cell biology in the group of Prof. W.-H. Kunau at the Ruhr-University of Bochum. In his Ph.D. in the group of Prof. L. K. Nielsen at the University of Queensland, Australia (1998 to 2002), he developed a continuous process for hyaluronic acid production using...Read more

Irina Borodina

Dr. Irina Borodina is Senior Scientist and Group Leader at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Her research focuses on advancing the methodologies for metabolic engineering of yeast cell factories for the sustainable production of bulk and high-value chemicals. She received a Chemical Engineering degree from Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania in 2001 and a PhD degree in Biotechnology from DTU in 2007. Dr. Borodina has authored 45 peer-reviewed articles, which have been cited over 2,300 times, she is co-inventor of 12...Read more

Michael Bott

Dr. Michael Bott is the Director of the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences at Forschungszentrum Jülich, as well as a Professor of Biotechnology at the University of Düsseldorf. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Marburg, and completed post doctoral research at the University of Marburg as well as ETH Zürich. At ETH Zürich, he also worked as a research associate and a group leader. His research mainly focuses on metabolism, regulation, and signal transduction in biotechnologically relevant bacteria, the development of microbial production strains, biosensors, and synthetic biology....Read more

Martin Brudermüller

Martin Brudermüller was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1961. In 1980 he started studying Chemistry at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, and received his degree in 1985. After earning his doctorate in Karlsruhe in 1987, he did a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley, United States.

He joined BASF in 1988 as a research scientist in the Ammonia Laboratory. Subsequently, he had various positions in business, production and strategic planning until he became president of the Functional Polymers division in 2003. Brudermüller has been a member of the Board of Executive...Read more

Jamie Cate

Dr. Cate has had a longstanding interest in understanding how the ribosome translates the genetic code into proteins. A major focus in his lab is the study of human translation, focusing on the role of human translation initiation factor eIF3 and on ribosome stalling mechanisms. Using biochemical and structural biology, his lab has revealed fundamental mechanisms of human translation initiation, including the discovery of a 5’-m7G mRNA cap-binding activity in human eIF3 and eIF3-mediated regulation of specific mRNAs. In collaboration with Pfizer, his lab also revealed a new molecular...Read more

Matthew Chang

Matthew Chang is Associate Professor in Biochemistry in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS), and Director of the Singapore Consortium for Synthetic Biology (SINERGY), Wilmar-NUS Corporate Laboratory (Wil@NUS) and NUS Synthetic Biology for Clinical and Technological Innovation (SynCTI).

His research interests lie in the development of biological systems that perform programmable functions. In particular, he has pioneered the development of microbial cells programmed to perform targeted therapeutic functionalities. His scientific...Read more

George Chen

Professor George Guo-Qiang CHEN received his BSc and PhD from South China University of Technology in 1985 and Graz University of Technology (Austria) in 1989, respectively. He also conducted research in 1990-1994 as a postdoc at University of Nottingham in UK and University of Alberta in Canada, respectively. He has been focusing his research on microbial materials polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) metabolic engineering and PHA biomaterials application since 1986. After joining Tsinghua University in 1994, he has been actively promoting the microbial Bio- and Material Industries in China....Read more

Tobias J. Erb

Tobias J. Erb is a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and Director at the Max Planck Institute for terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany. His research interests are the microbial carbon cycle, in particular the biochemistry and synthetic biology of carbon dioxide conversion. Tobi Erb's studies center on the discovery, the function and the design of novel CO2 converting enzymes from bacteria, algae and plants and their use in artificial photosynthesis, as well as the bottom-up design of complex metabolic networks and artificial cells.

Tobi Erb studied...Read more

Martin Fussenegger

Martin Fussenegger is Professor of Biotechnology and Bioengineering at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) of the ETH Zurich in Basel as well as at the University of Basel. His research focuses on mammalian cell engineering, in particular on the assembly of synthetic gene circuits that process complex control and closed-loop expression logic and on the production of theranostic designer cells implants that interface with host metabolism and have the potential to correct prominent metabolic disorders. Martin Fussenegger graduated with Werner Arber at the Biocenter...Read more

Jay Keasling

Jay Keasling is the Philomathia Professor of Alternative Energy at the University of California, Berkeley in the Departments of Bioengineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, senior faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Chief Executive Officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI). Dr. Keasling’s research focuses on the metabolic engineering of microorganisms for degradation of environmental contaminants or for environmentally friendly synthesis of drugs, chemicals, and fuels.Read more

Akihiko Kondo

Akihiko Kondo received his Ph.D. from Kyoto University in Chemical Engineering (1988). He was appointed as full professor of Kobe University in 2003 and also appointed as a team leader of the cell factory research team at RIKEN institute (Yokohama) in 2012. A. Kondo has developed various platform technologies such as cell surface display systems, metabolic pathway design tools, metabolic analysis technologies, genome editing and long chain DNA synthesis technologies and applied for construction of various microbial cell factories. A.
Kondo has been appointed as editor or editorial...Read more

Sang Yup Lee

Dr. Sang Yup Lee is Distinguished Professor at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). He is currently the Dean of KAIST Institutes, Director of BioProcess Engineering Research Center, and Director of Bioinformatics Research Center. He served as a Founding Dean of College of Life Science and Bioengineering. He has published more than 630 journal papers, 82 books/book chapters, and more than 680 patents, many of which licensed. He received numerous awards, including the National Order of Merit, National Science...Read more

Tiangang Liu

Tiangang Liu is Chu-Tian Professor at School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Wuhan University, China. His research interests are the natural products overproduction and discovery. His philosophy is that he wants to deeply understand the pathways he engaged by cell-free system and in vitro reconstitute of whole or partial pathway, and improve the microbial system by a few steps precise engineering works. In last several years, he was collaborating with many companies to improve their strain performances. He also applies his precursor supply systems both in vivo and in vitro for natural products...Read more

Michael Lynch

Mike is an Assistant Professor and the Hunt Faculty Scholar in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry at Duke University. Work in the Lynch lab is focused on developing advanced tools for metabolic engineering with a long-term goal to develop readily accessible tools for the predictable rational design of industrial strains. These tools are being developed alongside key applications ranging from the production of biofuels and chemicals to next-generation therapeutics and materials. Mike has recently co-founded DMC Biotechnologies Inc., a start-up commercializing dynamic...Read more

Costas Maranas

Dr. Costas D. Maranas (b. 1967) is the Donald B. Broughton Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. The C. Maranas group develops and deploys computational framework informed by systems engineering and mathematical optimization to understand, analyze and redesign metabolism and proteins.Read more

Rolf Müller

Rolf Müller studied pharmacy at Bonn University and obtained his PhD at the Department of Pharmaceutical Biology. In 1996, he went to the Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA . This was when he began to investigate the production of antibiotics in bacteria. Two years later he returned to Germany as a junior group leader at the German Research Centre for Biotechnology (GBF, now the HZI) in Braunschweig. In 2000, he completed his habilitation thesis at the Technische Universität Braunschweig on the biosynthesis of antibiotics in actinomycetes and...Read more

Elke Nevoigt

Dr. Elke Nevoigt is an Associate Professor for Molecular Biotechnology at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. Previously, she worked as an expert scientist at the KU Leuven Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, as well as a visiting scientist in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT. She received her Ph.D. as well as completed post-doctoral research at the Berlin University of Technology.Read more

Jens Nielsen

Jens Nielsen has received numerous Danish and international awards including the Villum Kann Rasmussen’s Årslegat, Merck Award for Metabolic Engineering, Amgen Award for Biochemical Engineering, Nature Mentor Award, the Gaden Award, the Norblad-Ekstrand gold medal, the Novozymes Prize, the ENI Award and the Eric and Sheila Samson Prize. He is member of several academies, including the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences in USA, the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the American Academy of Microbiology. He is a founding president of the International Metabolic Engineering Society.Read more

Lars Nielsen

Lars Nielsen is Chair of Biological Engineering at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology and a Scientific Director at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability in Denmark. He is Director of the Bioplatforms Australia Industrial Biotechnology Node, which provides systems and synthetic biology support to design and build cell factories for the production of fuels, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

His core research interest is modelling of cellular metabolism and his team has made many contributions to the formulation and use of genome scale...Read more

Bernhard Palsson

Bernhard Palsson is the Galletti Professor of Bioengineering, the Principal Investigator of the Systems Biology Research Group in the Department of Bioengineering, and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. He is also the CEO of the Novo Nordisk Center for Biosustainability in Denmark, working in this capacity since 2011. His research includes the development of methods to analyze metabolic dynamics (flux-balance analysis, and modal analysis), and the formulation of complete models of selected cells (the red blood cell, E. coli, CHO cells, and several human pathogens).Read more

Eleftherios (Terry) Papoutsakis

Since 2007, Eugene DuPont Professor in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware. Diploma in Chemical Engineering from the Nat. Technical Univ. of Athens; MS, PhD: Purdue University. Started his career at Rice University before moving to Northwestern University where he was promoted to Full Professor and later appointed as Walter P. Murphy Professor until he left in 2007.Read more

Kristala Jones Prather

Kristala Jones Prather is the Arthur D. Little Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT. She received an S.B. degree from MIT in 1994 and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (1999), and worked 4 years in BioProcess Research and Development at the Merck Research Labs prior to joining the faculty of MIT. Her research interests are centered on the design and assembly of recombinant microorganisms for the production of small molecules, with additional efforts in novel bioprocess design approaches. Prather is the recipient of an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (...Read more

Jack Pronk

Jack Pronk is professor in Industrial Microbiology and head of the Biotechnology Department at TU Delft. His research is aimed at understanding and improving microbial performance in industrial processes and integrates quantitative physiology, genomics, synthetic biology and evolutionary engineering.  Jack (co-)authored 270 scientific publications and is an inventor on 25 patent applications. Results from his team’s research on engineering of yeast for alcoholic fermentation of pentose sugars and for improvement of ethanol yields from first and second generation...Read more

Uwe Sauer

Uwe Sauer is Professor of Systems Biology in the Department of Biology at the ETH Zurich. Research in the Sauer lab takes an interdisciplinary approach that combines quantitative experimentation and modelling to solve fundamental questions of how bacteria and yeasts coordinate their metabolism and how they interact with each other and various hosts.Read more

Christina Smolke

Christina D. Smolke is Professor, Associate Chair of Education, and W.M. Keck Foundation Faculty Scholar in the Department of Bioengineering and, by courtesy, Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. Christina’s academic research program develops foundational tools that drive transformative advances in our ability to engineering biology.

Professor Smolke's research program focuses on developing modular genetic platforms for programming information processing and control functions in living systems, resulting in transformative technologies for engineering, manipulating, and...Read more

Gregory Stephanopoulos

Gregory N. Stephanopoulos is the 2016 AIChE President and the W. H. Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT. After obtaining his chemical engineering doctorate at Univ. of Minnesota, he taught at Caltech before joining MIT in 1985. His research focuses on metabolic engineering — the engineering of microbes to convert them to chemical factories for the production of fuels and chemicals. He has co-authored or edited five books, including co-authoring the first textbook on Metabolic Engineering, 450 papers, 50 patents, and supervised more than 150 graduate students and post-docs. He is...Read more

Claudia Vickers

Associate Professor Vickers holds dual roles as Director of the Synthetic Biology Future Platform at CSIRO (Australia’s Federal research agency) and Group Leader at The University of Queensland’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).

She completed her PhD in cereal crop biotechnology at CSIRO Plant Industry and UQ in 2004. She held a post-doctoral positions at The University of Queensland and Essex University where she worked on abiotic stress and the metabolic regulation and physiological function of volatile isoprenoids in plants. She returned to...Read more

Christopher Voigt

Professor Voigt obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the California Institute of Technology. He continued his postdoctoral research in Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. His academic career commenced as an Assistant and Associate Professor at the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California-San Francisco. Professor Voigt joined the Department of Biological Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as Associate Professor in 2011,...Read more

Huimin Zhao

Huimin Zhao joined the University of Illinois in 2000 and is currently the Steven L. Miller Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He also holds appointments in chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics and bioengineering and is leader of the Biosystems Design theme at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.Read more