Tyo Lab

Tyo Lab


Overview: The Tyo lab focuses on developing a range of novel experimental and computational methods that allow better characterization, understanding, and control the interactions between small molecules and proteins. We use an interdisciplinary approach of (a) systems-level analytic measurements to probe proteins, metabolite, and physiology and (b) computational methods that interpret these measurements and infer difficult-to-measure, systems-level phenomena. In turn, these insights allow (c) the rational engineering of microorganisms and proteins for the desired phenotypes (e.g., catalysis and biosensing). We have amassed experimental expertise in designing novel genetic tools, metabolomics, directed evolution, high throughput assays, and are developing expertise in engineering non-model organisms with unique catalytic capabilities. To complement these experimental approaches, we have developed computational capabilities in machine learning, cheminformatics, stoichiometric and kinetic metabolic modeling, and are developing expertise in protein structure prediction for engineering. We are driven to fulfill unmet needs in healthcare delivery in resource poor settings (global health) and sustainable production of drugs, chemicals and fuels.

Metabolic Engineering: We use experimental and computational approaches to engineer cells to behave as catalysts to synthesize fuels and chemicals from renewable resources. We aim to reduce greenhouse gas emmissions by enabling a range of sustainable solutions for producing the fuels and chemicals our society needs.

Biosensing: We engineer proteins to detect molecules that are clinically important and for basic science to understand complicated molecular processes in biochemistry and neuroscience. We aim to make diagnostics low-cost and available in resource-poor settings. For basic science, we aim to provide new tools that will allow us to interogate cellular systems in ways that were previously impossible.

Undergraduate research roles: Undergraduates in the Tyo Lab work in DNA cloning, analyzing strains with new properties, and computational modeling. Undergraduates are paired with postdocs or graduate students, who serve as mentors to teach research skills and lab techniques. Students should be willing to commit at least 10 hours/week for 3 quarters and a summer. A working knowledge of organic chemistry, molecular biology, or Python may be needed for specific projects.  Laboratory experience from the general chemistry and/or general biology sequences is ideal. Interested candidates should send a resume (with GPA) to k-tyo@northwestern.edu.



Basic Information

Opportunity Type: 

  • Lab Experience, Research Assistant, Volunteer

Opportunity Timeframe: 

  • Academic Year and/or Full Year, Northwestern Fall Quarter, Northwestern Winter Quarter, Northwestern Spring Quarter, Northwestern Summer Session

Opportunity Location: 

  • Evanston Campus

Location Map: 

Requirements & Prerequisites


  • Undergraduate Students

Other Limits on Participation: 

Preference given to students in the Chemical Engineering program, although other majors will be considered.  

Language Requirement: 


Other Required Skills: 

Students should be willing to commit at least 10hours/week for 3 quarters. Students should have completed two quarters of Organic Chemistry and one quarter from the biological sciences sequence.

Academic Information

Course Credit Availability: 

  • Yes

Subject Area(s): 

  • Engineering, Natural Sciences

Keyword Descriptors: 

  • chemical engineering, sensing, Synthetic Biology, Genetic Engineering, Metabolic Engineering, Catalysis

Financial Information

Funding Availability: 

  • No

Contact Information

Sponsors & Partners

Faculty Sponsor / PI: 


  • McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

NU Sponsor: 

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Wildcard Group

Northwestern Run Opportunity: 

Global Opportunity: 

Elective Topic: