News


  • Sam named NIH Biotechnology Training Fellow

    August 2018

    Congratulations to Sam for being named an NIH Biotechnology Training Fellow. Way to go!

    • BioBits educational kits bring synthetic and molecular biology experiments into K-12 classrooms

      August 2018

      Biobits, a collaboration among Northwestern University, MIT and the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, aims to bring synthetic biology to K-12 classrooms. The educational biology kits use freeze-dried cell-free reactions, which enable students to perform a range of simple, hands-on biological experiments, “introduc[ing] molecular and synthetic biology concepts without the need for specialized lab equipment, at a fraction of the cost of current standard experimental designs.”
      Read more here (article by Amanda Morris).

      • Jessica Stark, Anne d’Aquino, and Jasmine Hershewe lead BioBuilder workshops on campus!

        August 2018

        Jessica, Anne, and Jazzy hosted BioBuilder workshops where they taught Chicago teachers about Synthetic Biology and how to bring SynBio to their classrooms.

      • Mike receives Young Investigator Award

        July 2018

        Mike has received the 2018 Young Investigator Award from the Biochemical Engineering Journal! This annual award recognizes outstanding excellence in research and practice in the field of biochemical engineering.

        Read more here (article by Amanda Morris).


        • Jess’ paper on glycoprotein synthesis published in Nature Communications

          July 2018

          Jess’ paper “Single-pot Glycoprotein Biosynthesis Using a Cell-Free Transcription-Translation System Enriched with Glycosylation Machinery” was just published in Nature Communications!

          Read more here about how cell-free glycoprotein synthesis provides a cheaper, more rapid way to make medicines (article by Tom Fleischman).


          • Jewett lab alum Quentin Dudley using CFPS to express plant proteins

            June 2018

            Quentin Dudley (PhD, 2017), currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Earlham Institute/John Innes Centre (Norwich, UK), has received funding from the OpenPlant fund to use E. coli cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) for expressing wheat transcription factors. Read about this project here!

          • Jewett Lab graduating seniors receive Honors

            June 2018

            Sam Davidson, Emily Roney, and Samantha Crowe (not pictured) were honored for their membership in Tau Beta Pi, an honor society for academic excellence in engineering, at the Northwestern University Honors Ceremony for graduating seniors. They credit the Jewett lab for going above and beyond to support them through their time as undergraduates at Northwestern. Congratulations!

          • Tasfia Azim a top-3 finalist for the Northwestern Gotaas Award

            June 2018

            The Northwestern Gotaas Award is given to one graduating senior in McCormick who has demonstrated excellence in research as an undergraduate. Congratulations, Tasfia!

          • Jess selected for MIT Chemical Engineering Rising Stars Workshop

            June 2018

            Congratulations to Jessica Stark for being selected to attend the inaugural MIT Chemical Engineering Rising Stars Workshop in October 2018. Way to go!

          • Jewett lab members inspire young women in STEM during HerStory 2018!

            May 2018

            Jewett lab members Anne d’Aquino, Jess Stark, Charlotte Abrahamson, and Katie Warfel volunteered with HerStory 2018 at the MSI — HerStory is an event aimed to inspire young women in STEM.

          • Tasfia Azim and Rachel Dubner present posters on their research

            May 2018

            Tasfia and Rachel presented their research projects at the Northwestern Research & Arts Undergraduate Resarch Expo. Congratulations Tasfia and Rachel!

          • Lab members headed to grad school!

            May 2018

            Congratulations to the members of the Jewett lab who will be attending graduate school next year! Thank you for your work and we look forward to watching your graduate careers unfold.

            • William Grubbe: University of Chicago, Molecular Engineering PhD
            • Sam Crowe: University of California-Berkeley, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering PhD
            • Sam Davidson: California Institute of Technology, Bioengineering PhD
            • Tasfia Azim: Rice University, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering PhD
            • Rachel Dubner: New York University School of Medicine, MD

          • Ashty defends his dissertation

            May 2018

            Ashty Karim has successfully defended his dissertation entitled “A cell-free framework for rapid enzymatic prototyping and discovery” and will be graduating as Dr. Ashty Karim. Congrats, Ashty!

          • Alysse receives Weinberg Summer Research Program Award

            May 2018

            Congratulations, Alysse! Alysse will be conducting research full-time with Anne d’Aquino for 10 weeks this summer. In her work, she will be building and characterizing ribosomal variants in vitro.

          • Lab receives DoE/USDA grant to advance biofuels, bioenergy, and bioproducts

            May 2018

            Through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) the lab has been awarded a grant to develop a new platform for engineering reversal of β-oxidation in clostridia for synthesis of bioproducts from biomass syngas. This is an exciting and collaborative endeavor with colleagues at Rice University, GeorgiaTech, and LanzaTech.

          • Erik receives McCormick Summer Research Program Award

            May 2018

            Congratulations, Erik! Erik will be conducting research full-time with Do Soon for 10 weeks this summer. He will be developing methods for high-throughput building and testing of ribosome variants.

          • Article: New Biotech Technique Accelerates Protein Therapy Research

            May 2018

            In an article by Stephan Benzkofer, Mike and Milan Mrksich discuss their collaboration and new technique GlycoSCORES, which rapidly screens sequences for making glycoproteins.

          • Mike and Jess visit Glenbard East High School

            May 2018

            Mike and Jess Stark visited Tom Martinez’s advanced biology class at Glenbard East High School in Lombard, IL to discuss the Jewett labs research and synthetic biology. Go Rams!

          • Ashty receives ME-12 Junior Researcher Grant

            April 2018

            Ashty has received a competitive travel grant to attend the Metabolic Engineering 12 conference in Munich, Germany this June. He will present a poster on his work developing cell-free systems for pathway prototyping. Congrats, Ashty!

          • EU-US meeting on synthetic biology

            April 2018

            Approximately 20 scientists met in Brussels as part of an EU-US High-Level Expert Meeting to examine opportunities to advance basic science, emerging technologies and standards in biomanufacturing. A key focus was on cell-free biomanufacturing.

          • Weston is awarded NSF GROW award

            April 2018

            Weston was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to work for 6 months in the lab of Prof. Hans Wandall at the Copenhagen Center for Glycomics in Denmark through the Graduate Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) program. Congratulations, Weston!

          • Lauren selected for “Leadership Fundamentals” course

            April 2018

            Congratulations to Lauren Clark for being selected to participate in the “Leadership Fundamentals” course by the Center for Leadership!

          • Rachel wins poster award at CAURS

            April 2018

            Rachel Dubner’s poster was recognized as the best biological sciences presentation at the 2018 Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium. Congratulations, Rachel!

          • Jess presents at AACR in Chicago

            April 2018

            Jessica Stark presented her research on cell-free glycoprotein synthesis as a poster at the American Association for Cancer Research National Meeting in Chicago!

          • Undersecretary of the Army visits the lab

            April 2018

            Undersecretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy visited the Jewett lab as part of a roundtable discussion on increasing university-military research collaboration held at Northwestern. McCarthy (pictured with Jess) and other delegates learned about ongoing research and participated in a hands-on cell-free protein synthesis activity.

          • Jewett lab members awarded NDSEG graduate fellowships

            April 2018

            Blake Rasor and Katie Warfel have received prestigious National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate fellowships. Congratulations!

          • Lab receives MURI to design stimuli-responsive proteins

            April 2018

            With NU collaborators Mrksich and Dravid, the lab was awarded a new grant to develop new approaches to control dynamics of proteins and protein assemblies using modular, stimuli-responsive chemical switches.

          • Lab wins DURIP Award!

            April 2018

            Congratulations to the lab for receiving an equipment grant for automatic ribosome design.

          • Jewett lab members receive NSF fellowships

            March 2018

            Congratulations to Blake Rasor (current Jewett Lab member) and Natalia Majewska (Jewett lab undergrad) for receiving the NSF graduate fellowship. Also, congrats to Katie Warfel for receiving an honorable mention. Way to go!

          • Article about cell-free systems project funded by JGI

            March 2018

            The latest project funded by the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) is headed by Mike and Hal Alper of the University of Texas at Austin.

            Alper: “What we’re trying to develop is a generic platform that’s pathway-agnostic, a seamless pipeline from DNA design to prototype…It’s a tool for both discovery and understanding, but always a way to speed up cell engineering.”

            Mike: “People have used cell-free frameworks to understand biochemistry for decades. What’s new is idea of treating a pathway as something that can be built from enzyme cocktails…In our design-build-test cycle, the unit isn’t a plasmid or a construct, but a lysate enriched with pathway enzymes. You have freedom and flexibility; direct access to reaction conditions because you don’t have cell walls, and it’s useful for non-model organisms.”


        • Mike discusses cell-free protein synthesis research

          March 2018

          In an article by Stephan Benzkofer, Mike discusses new innovations in cell-free biotechnology, recently published in the journal Nature Communications.

        • Jess Stark presents her educational tools work at EBRC!

          March 2018

          Jessica Stark gave an oral presentation at EBRC where she shared her work on generating cell-free educational tools!

        • Jewett lab attends EBRC retreat at UW

          March 2018

          Jewett lab members gave oral and poster presentations at the 2018 EBRC conference at the University of Washington!

        • Ashty wins ACS BIOT Peterson Travel Award!

          March 2018

          Ashty has won the ACS BIOT Peterson Travel Award! Way to go Ashty!

        • Anne receives honorary Presidential Fellowship

          March 2018

          Anne has been selected for an honorary Presidential Fellowship, the most prestigious fellowship awarded to graduate students by Northwestern University. Congrats, Anne!

        • Sam receives Brady Scholars Program Fellowship

          March 2018

          Sam has received a graduate fellowship in the Brady Scholar’s Program. Congrats, Sam!

        • SynBREU is seeking applicants!

          March 2018

          The new Synthetic Biology Research Experience for Undergraduates is seeking applicants from around the country for a 10 week summer program. SynBREU provides students with the chance “to work in Northwestern Engineering’s Center for Synthetic Biology, an interdisciplinary research hub at the intersection of engineering, medicine, physics, and computer science.” (Article)

          More information HERE!

        • Tasfia presents at AIChE Midwest Regional Conference

          March 2018

          Tasfia gave a talk at the 2018 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Midwest Regional Conference at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Congrats, Tasfia!

        • Anne is awarded an NU BonD Travel Award

          December 2017

          Anne was awarded the NU BonD Travel award to give an oral presentation at ICBE Asia 2018 in Singapore! Congratulations, Anne!

        • Tasfia wins 2017 AIChE Undergraduate Poster Award

          October 2017

          Tasfia’s poster won 2nd place in the Biotechnology, Food, and Pharma III Division at the 2017 AIChE Undergraduate Student Poster Competition held in Minneapolis, MN, where about 330 undergraduates from all over the nation presented their research. Congratulations, Tasfia!

        • Anne and Andrea d’Aquino featured in Northwestern Now

          September 2017

          Anne and her twin sister Andrea are interviewed about their work inspiring young girls and minorities to pursue science.

        • Ashty receives Distinguished Graduate Researcher Award

          August 2017

          Ashty has received the 2017 Distinguished Graduate Researcher Award, an honor bestowed on the most outstanding graduate researcher in Northwestern’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. In addition to his outstanding publication and patent record that has highlighted his research dedicated to advancing new paradigms for biomanufacturing sustainable chemicals, he served as a Teaching Apprentice for the undergraduate process controls course, working with Josh Leonard, to high acclaim. Congratulations, Ashty!

        • Mike discusses Custom-Made Molecules

          August 2017

          In a recent article published in The Scientist Magazine, Mike comments on the power of making custom molecules through DNA synthesis in an automated fashion. This is in regards to new work being conducted by Synthetic Genomics in La Jolla, CA. Check it out!

        • Anne wins Ryan Fellowship

          July 2017

          Anne was selected as one of this year’s Ryan Fellows. The fellowship is awarded to the finest graduates students working in the realm of nanotechnology. Congrats, Anne!

        • Anne and Weston represent the Lab at SEED

          July 2017

          Anne presented a poster on her ribosome work and Weston gave a talk in the student session at SEED in Vancouver, Canada this year. Awesome job!

        • Quentin defends his dissertation

          June 2017

          Quentin Dudley has successfully defended his dissertation and will be graduating as Dr. Quentin Dudley. Congrats, Quentin!

        • Rey defends his dissertation

          June 2017

          Rey Martin has successfully defended his dissertation and will be graduating as Dr. Rey Martin. Congrats, Rey!

        • Thinking Differently: Northwestern’s Center for Synthetic Biology featured in news story

          June 2017

          Mike and the rest of the synthetic biology professors are the subject of one of the featured stories in the most recent issue of McCormick School of Engineering’s Spring publication. Congrats, Mike!

        • Erik defends his dissertation

          May 2017

          Erik Carlson has successfully defended his dissertation and will be graduating as Dr. Erik Carlson. Congrats, Erik!

        • Making antibodies minus the cells

          May 2017

          Rey’s recent publication in ACS Synthetic Biology was just highlighted in C&EN news. This work shows the development of a cell-free platform for rapid, high-throughput prediction of mAb expression ranking to accelerate design–build–test cycles required for antibody expression and engineering.

        • Mike joins Cell Systems Editorial Board

          April 2017

          Mike has joined the expanded editorial board of the journal Cell Systems. As featured in this editorial, Mike joins several others in expanding the scope of what Cell Systems has to offer!

        • Mike receives the 2017 Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence Award

          April 2017

          Mike was one of seven professors from Northwestern University to be selected for his commitment to and excellence in teaching. This award was highlighted in McCormmick news. Congrats, Mike!

        • The Jewett Lab Marches for Science

          April 2017

          Tasfia, Jess, Anne, and Jazzy make Northwestern’s website’s front page in their video clip contribution to Northwestern’s March for Science video. Great representation of the Jewett Lab!

        • Adam defends his dissertation

          April 2017

          Adam Hockenberry, co-advised with Mike and Luis Amaral, has successfully defended his dissertation and is graduating as Dr. Adam hockenbery. Congrats, Adam!

        • Jazzy and Andrew win prestigious national fellowships

          April 2017

          Jazzy and Andrew have each received the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship is only awarded to 150 graduate students national-wide who have demonstrated the ability and special aptitude for advanced training in science and engineering. Congrats to both Andrew and Jazzy!

          Andrew also was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports 2,000 outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics each year. Congrats, Andrew!

        • The lab is funded by highly competitive Human Frontier Science Program award

          April 2017

          The lab has been funded by the Human Frontier Science Program to create an ancient version of a cell. The team includes Andrew Ellington, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, at The University of Texas at Austin; Philippe Marliere, synthetic biologist at Genopole Evry in France; and Hiroaki Suga, professor of chemistry, at the University of Tokyo. The plan is to create a cell that uses ribozymes for transcription and tranlsation. This award was highlighted by Northwestern Engineering News.

          The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) is an international program of research support, funding frontier research on the complex mechanisms of living organisms. Research is funded at all levels of biological complexity from biomolecules to the interactions between organisms.

        • The EBRC hosts their second retreat at Northwestern

          March 2017

          Northwestern hosted this year’s retreat for the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) at Norris University Center. Nearly 170 faculty, researchers, and students attended from multiple universities including MIT, Harvard, Columbia University, Caltech, Cornell, Stanford, and the University of California at Berkeley. Many exciting talks and posters were presented and our very own Ashty Karim won a poster award. It was a great event for the Center for Synthetic Biology and for our lab!

        • Jess represents the lab at EBRC

          March 2017

          Jess gave a talk on her research at the spring 2017 EBRC retreat held at Northwestern. Great job!

        • Ashty to attend Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting

          February 2017

          Ashty was selected to attend the 2017 Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting in June this year. Once every year, 30–40 Nobel Laureates convene at Lindau to meet the next generation of leading scientists: 400-500 undergraduates, PhD students, and post-doc researchers from all over the world. The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings foster the exchange among scientists of different generations, cultures, and disciplines. Congrats, Ashty!

        • Ribo-T appears in Textbook

          February 2017

          Work done in the lab on Ribo-T was recently highlighted with an interview with Mike in the textbook, Microbiology: An Evolving Science, by Slonczewski and Foster.


        • Jessica starts her new job as an Associate Director

          January 2017

          Jessica Perez started her new job this month as the Associate Director of Education and Inclusivity with the Center for Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal Systems Research (POETS). POETS is an Engineering Research Center (ERC) with the long term goal of increasing the power density of current mobile electrified systems by 10-100 times over current state of the art systems. Jessica will work on the Center’s strategic education and workforce development plans including diversity/inclusivity in Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM). Congrats, Jessica!

        • Jessica is awarded top prize for AIChE Talk

          November 2016

          Quentin Dudley, Ashty Karim, and Jessica Stark attended the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California to give talks on their work. All were well received, and Jessica Stark was awarded one of four total awards given this year in Division 15 (Food, Pharmaceutical, and Bioengineering). Congrats, Jessica!

        • Mike awarded 2017 ACS BIOT Young Investigator Award

          November 2016

          Mike Jewett is awarded the American Chemical Society’s Division of Biochemical Technology (BIOT) Young Investigator Award, sponsored by Genentech, Inc. Mike will give an award lecture at the 253rd ACS National Meeting in San Francisco, California in April. Congrats, Mike!

        • Ashty and Anne present at the EBRC Inaugural Retreat

          November 2016

          Ashty and Anne attended the inaugural retreat for the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. Ashty presented a talk in the public webcast session, and Anne presented a poster. Anne won a first place poster award for her work on engineering ribosomes!

          The EBRC aims to bring together an inclusive community committed to advancing biological engineering to address national and global needs. It is comprised of academic members from over two dozen U.S. universities and biotechnology firms ranging from start-ups to multinational conglomerate companies.

        • Jessica defends her dissertation and graduates

          November 2016

          Jessica Perez has successfully defended her dissertation and is graduating as Dr. Jessica Perez. Congrats Jessica!
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        • Weston passes his qualifying exam

          October 2016

          Weston Kightlinger passes his qualifying exam. He is now a Ph.D. candidate. Congratulations!
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        • Do Soon passes his qualifying exam

          September 2016

          Do Soon Kim passes his qualifying exam. He is now a Ph.D. candidate. Congratulations!
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        • Mike gives Mellichamp Distinguished Lecture

          September 2016

          Professor Michael Jewett gave the inaugural Suzanne C and Duncan A Mellichamp Distinguished Lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Jewett’s lecture titled” Repuposing ribosomes for synthetic biology” offered an exciting vision towards new directions in harnessing the translation apparatus of the cell to manufacture medicines and functional materials.

          In the photo left to right are David Scholl (Chair Chemical and bimolecular engineering GaTech), Suzanne Mellichamp, Duncan Mellichamp, and Michael Jewett.

        • Inspired by Nature: Northwestern Medicine Feature

          Summer 2016

          With the launch of the Center of Synthetic Biology (CSB) we are organizing a team and the infrastructure to solve big problems. The Northwestern Medicine Magazine is featuring our endeavors to retool biological systems to develop new materials and therapeutics. Read more about this here.
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        • Lab has huge presence at SEED 2016 in Chicago

          July 2016

          Our lab attended the 2016 Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution & Design (SEED) conference held in Chicago sharing research endeavors with the SynBio community. One highlight includes Jessica Stark giving a well-received talk on cell-free glycosylation. In addition, Erik Carlson and Ashty Karim received poster awards for their research.


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        • The Lab gets funding from the DOD’s MURI program

          July 2016

          New funding from the Department of Defense’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives (MURI) program helps the lab extend our research to engineer and repurpose the ribosome to make new kinds of polymers for flow batteries. Read more about this here.
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        • Jennifer defends her dissertation

          June 2016

          Jennifer Kay has successfully defended her dissertation and is graduating as Dr. Jennifer Kay. Congrats Jennifer!
        • JenGraduation

        • Jen graduates

          June 2016

          Jen Schoborg has officially graduated and gets ready to start her job as a Research Scietist at Pfizer. Congrats and good luck, Jen!
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        • Mike presents at XB2

          May 2016

          Mike presented a talk on repurposing ribosomes at XB2, The Second Conference on Xenobiology in Berlin. Pictured from left to right are Tobias Erb (max plank), Farren Isaacs (yale), Chang Liu (UCI), Abhishek Chatterjee (BC), and Mike jewett (NU)
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        • Jen defends her dissertation

          April 2016

          Jen Schoborg has successfully defended her dissertation and is graduating as Dr. Jennifer Schoborg. Congrats Jen!
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        • Do Soon and Jazzy receive NSF GRFP recognition

          April 2016

          Do Soon has been awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and Jazzy received an Honorable Mention. Congrats Do Soon and Jazzy!
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        • Center for Synthetic Biology Launch

          March 2016

          Northwestern launched it’s Center for Synthetic Biology this month bringing together faculty and students from the McCormick School of Engineering, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and the Feinberg School of Medicine. The Center provides a midwest hub for scientists and engineers working to program biological systems to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. Check out more about the center.
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        • Lauren’s two-year anniversary

          January 2016

          Lauren Clark has been with the lab for two years serving as lab manager and as research staff. She is essential to the research the lab does. To years to come!
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        • James and Justin join the lab

          January 2016

          James Kath, postdoctoral researcher, and Justin Wang, Masters in Biotechnology student, join the lab. Welcome to the Jewett Lab!
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        • Ashty Passes his qualifying exam

          January 2016

          Ashty Karim passes his qualifying exam. He is now a Ph.D. candidate. Congratulations!

        • Jess passes her qualifying exam

          October 2015

          Jessica Stark passes her qualifying exam. She is now a Ph.D. candidate. Congratulations!

        • Javin’s publication in Nature Communications gets press

          September 2015

          Javin Oza’s new publication on CFPS of phosphoproteins is out in Nature Communications. This article has garnered press highlighting the newfound ability to study special proteins associated with disease.

        • Professor Jewett is promoted

          September 2015

          Professor Jewett has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Congratulations!

        • Seok Hoon is an Assistant Professor at IIT

          August 2015

          Seok Hoon Hong, former postdoctoral researcher, has accepted a position at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). Congratulations to him and the start of the Hong Lab at IIT.