Rapid population growth and a rise in global living standards have intensified the need for sustainable supplies of energy and chemicals. Cell-free metabolic engineering avoids the tug-of-war that exists between the cell’s objectives and the engineer’s objectives. Using crude-cell lysates, the Jewett Lab is working to build metabolic pathways toward commodity chemicals, isoprenoids, biofuels, plant secondary metabolites, and natural products.
Our cell-free approach gains direct access to and control of the inner workings of the cell to dramatically increase the resolution at which we can manipulate catalytic ensembles. This enables us to create new design rules for constructive biology that look beyond what does exist to what can exist.