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, ‘re-programming’ microorganisms to 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.  Learn more…


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


Recent News & Announcements

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!

New DOE Cyanobacteria Project

Working with collaborators at CSU and NanoGas Technologies, our ASU team is leading a recently awarded project from the DOE, focussed on enhancing the efficiency for carbon utilization in biofuel-producing cyanobacteria cultures.  Learn more...


  Had a great time presenting some of the group's work at the '2018 Biocatalysis, Bioconversion and Green Manufacturing US-China bilateral Symposium' in Beijing, hosted by the Beijing University of Chemical Technology (BUCT). The hosts were wonderful and the...

SEED 2018

Chris and Michael are presenting their work this week at SEED 2018, being held just up the road in Scottsdale, AZ! Read more about the conference and SynBio research at ASU in the following article:...


Our group and DOE project team were well-represented at the 27th Western Photosynthesis Conference (WPC2018), held at Biosphere 2 just south of us in Oracle, Arizona from Jan. 4-7, 2018.  Chris Jones and his work were recognized as runner-up in the postdoc category of...

Metabolic Engineering Summit

Andrew Flores travelled all the way to Beijing, China to present his work on co-culture engineering (a collaboration with Prof. Xuan Wang, ASU) at the 2017 Metabolic Engineering Summit!  This conference series is sponsored by the International Metabolic Engineering...

AIChE 2017

We were in Minneapolis last week for AIChE, trying to stay warm and presenting the work of Brian and Kyle.  It was also a great chance to catch up with friends from all over, including the Prather Group (MIT)!  Until next...

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