Michael Jewett

PhD, Stanford University

Chemical and Biological Engineering
Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences Program
Medical Scientist Training Program

Office Phone: 847.467.5007
The Jewett Lab


My research group is motivated by a desire to understand, harness, and expand the capabilities of biological systems for compelling applications in medicine, materials, and energy. Specifically, we focus on designing, constructing, and modifying biological systems involved in protein synthesis and metabolism to (i) understand why nature’s designs work the way they do and (ii) open the way to products that have been impractical, if not impossible, to produce by other means.

An innovative feature of our research program is the use of cell-free systems. The foundational principle is that we can conduct precise, complex biomolecular transformations without using intact cells, which provides an unprecedented and otherwise unattainable freedom of design to modify and control biological systems. For example, cell-free systems avoid the need to balance the tug-of-war that exists between the cell’s physiological and evolutionary objectives and the engineer’s process objectives. Leveraging our unique approach, and taking advantage of expertise in quantitative applied biotechnology and genome engineering, our research team is pursuing several lines of investigation, which include: (i) cell-free protein synthesis, (ii) glycosylation, (iii) protein-based materials, (iv) repurposing ribosomes to expand the chemistry of life, and (v) cell-free metabolic engineering.


Selected Publications

Kay, J.E. and Jewett, M.C. 2015. Lysate of engineered Escherichia coli supports high-level conversion of glucose to 2,3-butanediol. Metabolic Engineering. In press.

Orelle C., Carlson, E.D., Szal, T., Florin, T., Jewett, M.C., and Mankin, A.S. 2015. Protein synthesis by ribosomes with tethered subunits. Nature. 524, 119–124.

Oza, J.P., Aerni, H.R., Pirman, N.L., Barber, K.W., ter Haar, C.M., Rogulina, S., Amrofell, M.B.,  Isaacs, F.J., Rinehart, J., and Jewett, M.C. 2015. Robust production of recombinant phosphoproteins using cell-free protein synthesis. Nature Communications. 6: 8168.

Fritz, B.R., Jamil, O.K., and Jewett, M.C. 2015. Implications of macromolecular crowding and reducing conditions for in vitro ribosome construction. Nucleic Acids Research. gkv329. In press.

Moatsou, D., Li, J., Ranji, A.  Pitto-Barry, A., Ntai, I. Jewett, M.C., O’Reilly, R.K. 2015. Reversible self-assembly of temperature-responsive protein-polymer conjugates. Bioconjugate Chemistry. In press.

Des Soye, B., Patel, J., Isaacs, F.J., and Jewett, M.C. 2015. Repurposing the translation apparatus for synthetic biology. Current Opinion in Chemical Biology. 28:83-90.

Kwon, Y.C. and Jewett, M.C. 2015. High-throughput preparation methods of crude extract for robust cell-free protein synthesis. Scientific Reports. 5:8663.

Hong, S.H., Kwon, Y.C., Martin, R.W., Des Soye, B.J., de Paz, A.M., Swonger, K.N., Ntai, I., Kelleher, N.L., and Jewett, M.C. 2015. Improving Cell-free Protein Synthesis through  Genome Engineering of Escherichia coli lacking Release Factor 1. ChemBioChem. 16:844-853. (On the inside cover)

Dudley, Q.M., Karim, A.S., and Jewett, M.C. 2015. Cell-Free Metabolic Engineering: Biomanufacturing beyond the cell. Biotechnology Journal. 10:69–82. (Top Download 2014-2015)



View all publications by Michael Jewett listed in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).

Recent Photos

October 27, 2015