BioPACIFIC MIP Research: SET 1 - Bioderived Materials
What is your research focus?
My current dissertation research involves building a platform in baker’s yeast for scalable production of the terpene-derived natural product, strictosidine. While this specific compound may not be useful towards designing new biosynthetic materials, achieving increased titers of this complex molecule relies on first establishing high-titer production of terpene precursors, which has been completed. Many synthetic and biosynthetic materials such as photopolymer resins rely on terpene building blocks. I propose to leverage my current yeast platform for scalable and sustainable production of monomeric terpenes that can be used to create new biosynthetic materials which aligns with SET 1: Bioderived Materials. In addition to my experience with baker’s yeast, I have extensive experience with the non-conventional yeast, Yarrowia lipolytica, from my undergraduate research. There I helped develop and utilize synthetic biology tools to redirect carbon flux from Y. lipolytica’s native, expansive lipid stores towards short and medium chain terpenes such as limonene and lycopene.
What excites you about NSF BioPACIFIC MIP?
I believe that my expertise with engineering both model and non-conventional yeasts combined with BioPACIFIC MIP’s high-throughput facilities will allow rapid production of engineered strains and enable access to a wide variety of natural and unnatural terpene building blocks. I am interested in continuing as a BioPACIFIC MIP Fellow for the unique opportunity to collaborate with researchers outside of UCLA through interdisciplinary research. Additionally, I plan on utilizing the automated BioFoundry to assist my research and thus allowing me to develop a unique, competitive skillset not offered elsewhere.