Research Staff
Principal Investigator

Hal Alper, Ph.D.

B.S: Chemical Engineering, University of Maryland at College Park

Ph.D: Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Post-doc: Whitehead Institute

Post-doc: Shire Human Genetic Therapies

Postdoctoral Scholars

Hongyuan Lu, Ph.D.

Post-doc: Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore

Ph.D.: Environmental Science, City University of Hong Kong

B.S.: Chemical & Biological Engineering, New York University

Email: hongylu AT utexas.edu

Research: I am passionate about metabolic engineering/synthetic biology research in general. Currently, I am interested in evolving enzymes using directed evolution.

Interests: I love playing badminton and travelling. Also, I enjoy cooking and eating with the exemption from doing the dishes.

Roopa Parate, Ph.D.

Ph.D.: Biocatalysis and Green Chemistry, CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory Pune

M.S.: Biotechnology, Dr. D. Y. Patil University Pune

B.S.: Biotechnology, Goa University

Email: roopa.parate AT utexas.edu

Research: I am interested in bioprocess development for sustainability and currently exploring metabolic engineering and synthetic biology.

Interests: Big time foodie who loves to cook and try out new cuisines! I enjoy playing Badminton, and also a plant nurturer.

Graduate Students

Daniel Acosta (co-advised with Dr. Ellington)

PhD Student in Microbiology (ILSGP)

B.S.: Microbiology, University of Arizona

Email: d.acosta AT utexas.edu

Research: I am interested in utilizing metabolic engineering/synthetic biology in bioremediation and renewable feedstock applications, specifically microbial techniques for disposing of plastics.

Interests: I love backpacking and outdoor activities like hiking and rock climbing. I also enjoy skiing and winter sports when presented the rare opportunity to go somewhere cold.

Mayur Bansal

PhD Student in Biochemistry (ILS)

B.S.: Biochemistry and Genetics, Texas A&M University

Email: mayursst AT utexas.edu

Research: I am working on applying synthetic biology techniques to develop more efficient strategies to produce industrially important and/or specialty chemicals.

Interests: I enjoy reading science fiction, watching movies and practicing muay thai. If I'm not at the lab you can find at Barton springs where I can regret not spending all my money on bitcoin 15 years ago.

Amelia Bergeson

PhD Student in Chemical Engineering

B.S.: Chemical Engineering, Tulane University

Email: amelia.bergeson AT austin.utexas.edu

Research: I am interested in research related to sustainability, specifically plasticdegradation, through metabolic engineering and synthetic biology techniques.

Interests: I enjoy skiing, knitting, spending time with family and friends, and trying new things.

Emily Bowman

PhD Student in Biochemistry (ICMB)

B.S.: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Trinity University

Email: emkbowman AT utexas.edu

Research: I'm interested in developing tools for synthetic biology to study yeast metabolism and improve their production of specialty chemicals.

Interests: I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy books, competing in events at my gym, and anything that gets me outside.

Sierra Brooks

PhD Student in Chemical Engineering

B.S.: Chemical-Biological Engineering, MIT

Email: sierramb AT utexas.edu

Research: I am interested in applying metabolic engineering and materials science tools to develop platforms for on-demand production of high-value compounds from microorganisms.

Interests: I enjoy running, throwing a frisbee, petting dogs, baking, and wandering Trader Joes.

Hannah Cole (co-advised with Dr. Ellington)

PhD Student in Microbiology (ICMB)

B.A.: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Email: hcole510 AT utexas.edu

Research: I am interested in engineering proteins and microbes for bioremediation applications with a specific focus on plastic degradation.

Interests: I enjoy hanging out with my dog Dot, reading, soccer, basketball, learning more about science policy/communication, and sending my friends weird things I find on the internet.

Sarah Coleman

PhD Student in Chemical Engineering

B.S.: Chemical-Biological Engineering, MIT

Email: sarahcol AT utexas.edu

Research: I am interested in the synthesis of specialty chemicals in yeast using synthetic biology and metabolic engineering tools.

Interests: I enjoy being outdoors, concerts, gardening and when journal articles have puns in the title.

Angela Gordillo Sierra

PhD Student in Chemical Engineering

B.S.: Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, Universidad de los Andes Bogotá, Colombia

M.Sc.: Chemical Engineering, Universidad de los Andes Bogotá, Colombia

Email: ar.gordillo AT utexas.edu

Research: I’m interested in developing synthetic biology tools for the production of industrially important and/or specialty chemicals.

Interests: I enjoy trying new recipes, being active outside, traveling and eating pizza.

Lizzie Klatt

PhD Student in Chemical Engineering

B.S.: Engineering, Smith College

Email: lklatt AT utexas.edu

Research: I am interested in encapsulating cells into hydrogels and re-using them for the on-demand production of molecules.

Interests: I enjoy drawing, cooking/baking, video games, fashion, hanging out with my cats, and wasting my time on the internet.

Celeste Marsan

PhD Student in Chemical Engineering

B.S.: Chemical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Email: celeste.marsan AT utexas.edu

Research: I am interested in using synthetic biology and genetic engineering tools to produce novel bioactive metabolites.

Interests: I enjoy hiking, playing sports, exploring new places, and pretty much anything else I can do outdoors with my dog, Milo.

Morgan Martinez

PhD Student in Chemical Engineering

B.S.: Chemical Engineering, University of Dayton

Email: morgan.martinez AT utexas.edu

Research: I am interested in using synthetic biology and cell metabolisms to recover and repurpose industrial waste products into useful and environmentally benign products.

Interests: I love cooking, painting, drawing, woodworking, going to concerts, and playing sports (baseball, football, tennis, ultimate frisbee). I’d be remiss to forget memes and my dog, Woodford.

Kristin Presnell

PhD Student in Chemical Engineering

B.S. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Email: kpres48 AT gmail.com

Research: I am interested in using computational methods to develop more rational approaches to the design of a wide range of metabolic engineering tools.

Interests: I enjoy cooking, board games, painting, and Netflix... but primarily cats. I really enjoy cats.

Xiunan Yi

PhD Student in Microbiology (ICMB)

B.S.: Microbiology, Shandong University

Email: xiunan.yi AT utexas.edu

Research: I am interested in building a cell-free production system using metabolically engineered yeast strains.

Interests: I enjoy traveling, board/card games, video games and cats.

Visiting Scholars

Karol Nogueira

B.S.: Biochemistry, Federal University of Sao Joao del-Rei

Email: kmvnogueira AT utexas.edu

Research: Currently, I am interested in engineering yeast strains for second-generation bioethanol production.

Interests: I enjoy cycling, spending time with my family and friends with good music and food, traveling, and visiting new places.

Undergraduate Students

Stephen Achilles

Email: stephenaachilles AT gmail.com

Ryan Dittoe

Email: redittoe AT utexas.edu

Ayse Erdemir

Email: ayse.erdemir01 AT utexas.edu

Shruti Gadiyar

Email: gadiyar.sh AT utexas.edu

Ashley Lin

Email: ashleylin AT utexas.edu

Chloe MacKenzie

Email: chloemackenzie AT utexas.edu

Omar Melhem

Email: omelhem AT utexas.edu

Michael Meng

Email: mikemeng2 AT utexas.edu

Michael Montez

Email: michaelm314159 AT utexas.edu

Dustin Nguyen

Email: dustindnguyen17 AT utexas.com

Ashley Pham

Email: ashley-pham AT utexas.edu

Esha Ramanan

Email: esha.ramanan AT utexas.edu

Adit Trivedi

Email: adit.trivedi AT utexas.edu

Jordan Wells

Email: jordantwells AT utexas.edu