Keith Tyo

PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Office Phone: 847.868.0319
Tyo Group


What we do
Microbes must cope with harsh, rapidly changing environments to survive. To do this, microbes have developed sophisticated mechanisms to (a) sense the changes in the environment, and (b) respond quickly to these changes to protect itself from harm or capitalize on an opportunity. Our lab seeks to rewire these fundamental input/output relationships to program cells to do useful things for mankind in a paradigm called synthetic biology. Inputs: We study methods to modify existing environmental detection sensors and modify them to detect new analytes. Outputs: We investigate the regulation and biochemistry of metabolic networks and toward manipulating the metabolic network to increase production of drugs, fuels, and chemicals.

Why we do it
Synthetic biology offers a disruptive technology that has vast potential to impact the most important facets of our lives. The way we diagnose diseases, the drugs we use, the fuels we put in our cars, the plastic that is used in our potato chip bag - we have the opportunity to improve the sustainability of our lifestyle. And by reducing costs, we can make aspects of our lifestyle available to those who could not otherwise afford it. We hope to offer technical contributions that, simply put, make the world a better place.

Selected Publications

W. Rodríguez-Limas, K. Sekar, K. Tyo. “Virus-like particles: The future of microbial factories and cell-free systems as platforms for vaccine development.” Current Opinions in Biotechnology: Pharmaceutical Biotech. 2013, 24(6), 1089.

J. Glaser, B. Zamft, A. Marblestone, J. Moffitt, K. Tyo, E. Boyden, G. Church, K. Kording.  “Statistical Analysis of Molecular Signal Recording.” PLoS Computational Biology 2013 9(7): e1003145.

M. Moura, L. Broadbelt, K. Tyo. “Computational Tools for Guided Discovery and Engineering of Metabolic Pathways.”  Methods in Molecular Biology: Systems Metabolic Engineering: Methods and Protocols, 2013, 985,123.

K. Tyo, Z. Liu, D. Petranovic, J. Nielsen. “Imbalance of Heterologous Protein Folding and Disulfide Bond Formation Rates Yields Runaway Oxidative Stress.” BMC Biology. 201210(1):16.

P. Ajikumar, W. Xiao, K. Tyo, F. Simeon, E. Leonard, Y. Wang, O. Mucha, T.H. Phon, B. Pfiefer, G. Stephanopoulos. “Isoprenoid pathway optimization for Taxol precursor overproduction in Escherichia coli.” Science, 2010, 330, 70.

K. Tyo, P. Ajikumaran, G. Stephanopoulos. “Stabilized gene duplication enables long-term selection-free heterologous pathway expression.” Nature Biotechnology, 2009, 27, 760.


Recent Photos

October 29, 2015