Michael C. Jewett
Associate Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
PhD (2005) Stanford University
The Jewett group seeks to transform the way biological systems are engineered for applications in medicine, materials, and energy. Specifically, our aim is to create a new paradigm for engineering biocatalytic systems involved in protein synthesis and metabolism by widening the aperture of the traditional model of biotechnology. In one research thrust, we conduct precise, complex biomolecular transformations in crude lysates without using intact cells. This innovation represents a significant departure from cell-based processes that rely on microscopic cellular ‘reactors,’ and provides an unprecedented freedom of design to modify and control biological systems. In another area, we are pioneering new directions to repurpose the translation apparatus for synthetic biology. The goal is to monitor, interrogate, and understand the process of translation, and with this knowledge diversify, evolve and repurpose the ribosome and its peripheral machinery into a re-engineered machine to generate non-natural polymers as new classes of sequence-defined, evolvable matter.
Current areas of emphasis include: (1) repurposing the ribosome to enable synthesis of therapeutics with increased stability and decreased immunogenicity as well as manufacture of advanced materials, (2) controlling and engineering glycosylation for therapeutics and conjugate vaccines, and (3) developing new approaches for the discovery and synthesis of novel antibiotics that address rising bacterial resistance.