Faculty Directory
Keith E.J. Tyo

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering


2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

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Tyo Research Group


Center for Synthetic Biology


Chemical and Biological Engineering

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Ph.D., M.S., MIT, Cambridge, MA

B.S., West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

Haslam Presidential Fellow, MIT

NIH Kirschstein NRSA Fellow, Chalmers University of Technology

Searle Leadership Award

Research Interests

Protein engineering, metabolic engineering, global health

What we do
Microbes must cope with harsh, rapidly changing environments to survive. To do this, microbes have developed sophisticated mechanisms to (a) sense the changes in the environment, and (b) respond quickly to these changes to protect itself from harm or capitalize on an opportunity. Our lab seeks to rewire these fundamental input/output relationships to program cells to do useful things for mankind in a paradigm called synthetic biology. Inputs: We study methods to modify existing environmental detection sensors in yeast and modify them to detect new analytes. Outputs: We investigate ways microbes modify their metabolic networks and use these modifications to increase production of a given metabolite.

Why we do it
Synthetic biology offers a disruptive technology that has vast potential to impact the most important facets of our lives. The way we diagnose diseases, the drugs we use, the fuels we put in our cars, the plastic that is used in our potato chip bag - we have the opportunity to improve the sustainability of our lifestyle. And by reducing costs, we can make aspects of our lifestyle available to those who could not otherwise afford it. We hope to offer technical contributions that, simply put, make the world a better place.

Selected Publications

  • Broadbelt, Linda J.; Pertusi, Dante A.; Stine, Andrew E.; Tyo, Keith E.J., “Efficient searching and annotation of metabolic networks using chemical similarity”, Bioinformatics, (2015)
  • Rodr_guez-Limas, William A.; Tannenbaum, Victoria; Tyo, Keith E. J., “Blocking endocytotic mechanisms to improve heterologous protein titers in Saccharomyces cerevisiae”, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, (2015)
  • Broadbelt, Linda J.; et al.; Tyo, Keith E. J.; Jeffryes, James G.; Colastani, Ricardo L., “MINEs: Open access databases of computationally predicted enzyme promiscuity products for untargeted metabolomics”, Journal of Cheminformatics, (2015)
  • Tyo, Keith E.J.; Sekar, Karthik, “Regulatory effects on central carbon metabolism from poly-3-hydroxybutryate synthesis”, Metabolic Engineering, (2015)
  • L_tke-Eversloh, Tina; Tyo, Keith E. J, “Editorial overview: Cell and pathway engineering. Moving from possible to profitable: recent innovations in cell and pathway engineering”, Current opinion in biotechnology, (2014)
  • Liu, Zihe; Petranovic, Dina; Nielsen, Jens; Tyo, Keith E.J.; Magnusson, Ylva, “Impact of protein uptake and degradation on recombinant protein secretion in yeast”, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, (2014)
  • Rodrguez-Limas, William A; Sekar, Karthik; Tyo, Keith EJ, “Virus-like particles: the future of microbial factories and cell-free systems as platforms for vaccine development”, Current Opinion in Biotechnology, (2013)
  • Tyo, Keith; Kording, Konrad P.; Glaser, Joshua I.; Zamft, Bradley M.; Marblestone, Adam H., “Statistical Analysis of Molecular Signal Recording”, PLoS Computational Biology, (2013)