My laboratory is focused on tackling fundamental questions in how cells make decisions in complex environments and how they regulate their function through feedback control. Our research program seeks to study endogenous feedback regulation, focusing on stress response systems. In this quest, we develop technologies that allow us to measure feedback operation in real time and quantify its contribution to cellular function. We also seek to build novel feedback functionalities in living cells. Our goal is to deliver rationally designed, programmable, plug-and-play, cellular recognizance and repair circuits that can be broadly deployed for therapeutic (e.g. cell-based immunotherapy) and biotechnological (e.g. metabolic engineering and bioremediation) applications. At the same time, we also aim to deliver foundational insights into biological feedback control, unraveling evolutionary successful principles of feedback strategies that are most appropriate for the biological substrate and achieving understanding at the right depth and granularity for forward engineering them with predictable outcomes.

Awards and Achievements

  • Annual Byers Award and Lecture in Basic Science ( 2018)
  • Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub Senior Investigator ( 2017)
  • Annual Mindlin Endowed Lecture Speaker, UW Seattle ( 2017)
  • Cell “40 under 40” ( 2014)
  • Best PhD dissertation award, Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara ( 2006)
  • Grace Boyer Junior Faculty Endowed Chair in Biochemistry and Biophysics ( 2008)
  • David and Lucille Packard Foundation Fellow ( 2009)
  • Donald P. Eckman Award for “Novel applications of Control Theory in the analysis and synthesis of complex biological systems” ( 2011)
  • CSB2 Prize in Systems Biology (Merrimack Pharmaceuticals and the Council for Systems Biology in Boston) ( 2012)
  • Paul Allen Family Distinguished Investigator ( 2013)
  • Dean’s Honor list ( 1994-1998)
  • Finalist: Best Master’s thesis award in Electrical Engineering ( 1999)

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