Plant Biosystems Design

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Patrick Shih

Director of Plant Biosystems Design

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Niklas Hummel

Assistant Specialist

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Mitchell Thompson

Post Doctoral Researcher

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Khanh Vuu

Research Associate

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Andy Zhou

Post Doctoral Researcher

Given the scale and utility of agriculture, plants offer a unique platform to address many imminent challenges facing society. The Plant Biosystems Design group focuses on developing the foundational knowledge and technologies needed to innovate, deploy, and engineer new traits into plants using synthetic biology approaches. Specifically, the team is interested in manipulating plant metabolism in order to optimize plant development and biomass characteristics for sustainable energy-crop and bioenergy production. In order to efficiently engineer plants, tools and techniques will be developed to expedite and implement biotechnological applications in agriculturally relevant crops.


  • Developing synthetic biology tools to enable more complex, targeted, and sophisticated engineering efforts in plants
  • Stacking traits into bioenergy feedstocks for improved yield, biomass, and sustainability
  • Designing and engineering plants for the production of target compounds directly from photosynthesis

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