ASU Engineering | Nielsen Lab


Who we are

We are a team of engineers and scientists focused on developing novel biotechnologies for efficiently converting renewable feedstocks into a variety of sustainable fuel and chemical products.  We work at the interface of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology, while also incorporating key elements of industrial and applied microbiology, and use these skills to ‘re-program’ and study microorganisms that carry out various functions of interest. Current applications include engineering novel biosynthetic pathways, expanding catabolic range and capacity, improving strain robustness, and enhancing other traits of industrial importance, among others.  Learn more…


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Complex problems require multi-disciplinary solutions.  Thus, for us and the scientific community as a whole to continue to gain new and meaningful fundamental insights that will ultimately help to address the Grand Challenges facing today’s society, it is critical that unique and fresh perspectives are both encouraged and enthusiastically embraced.  To this end, our group continues to provide a safe and inclusive environment where all are welcome, regardless of culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity, nation of origin, age, education, languages spoken, veteran’s status, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation and/or beliefs.  Science belongs to all of us, and our discoveries are better and stronger when achieved together.


Research Areas


Novel pathway engineeringpathwaymap

Strain optimization

Product tolerance

Adaptive laboratory evolution



New strain engineering toolssynbio


Dynamic control

Synthetic microbial communities



Integrated bioreactorsFigure 1 - Overview

Product separation


Process modeling and optimization


Take a Tour of our Lab Space


Recent News & Announcements

New NSF Project!

We are excited to begin work on a new project related to enhancing CO2 fixation in 'dark' fermentations.  This project will combine both synthetic biology and bioprocessing solutions, and our team includes Profs. Bruce Rittmann and Xuan Wang.  Looking forward to...

Congrats Dr. Flores!

Dr. Andrew Flores successfully defended his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering today! Andrew was co-mentor by Prof. Nielsen and Prof. Xuan Wang (SOLS), and his thesis was entitled 'Engineering Synthetic Coculture Systems for Enhanced Bioproduction Applications' .  Well...

Visit to IIT

Had a great visit to Illinois Institute of Technology earlier this month!  Enjoyed meeting new colleagues and it was a pleasure to present a research seminar on some of our recent works.

Moving to Biodesign C

A busy Summer made busier by moving our lab to the new Biodesign C building!  Phase 1 is complete, with the full move slated for early Fall.  We had a small celebration to say goodbye to our old space in GWC. w The new space is fantastic, and we are looking forward to...

SIMB 2019

Andrew will present his latest co-culture work (a collaboration with Prof. Xuan Wang) at SIMB 2019!  Be sure to stop by his poster. Oh, and he also won a Diversity Travel Award! Congrats!

Research Tools

Find the right tools for the job.

Internal Resources

Private access portal for lab members.

Lab Safety

Safety first.