Engineering News

Tullman-Ercek Receives Young Investigator Award

Award honors her contributions to the field of biochemical engineering



Northwestern Engineering’s Danielle Tullman-Ercek received the 2020 Young Investigator Award from Biochemical Engineering Journal. Launched in 2009, the annual award recognizes outstanding excellence in research and practice in the field of biochemical engineering.

Danielle Tullman-ErcekAn associate professor of chemical and biological engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering, Tullman-Ercek’s research focuses on controlling the movement of materials across biological membranes, with the goal of enabling and enhancing the production of pharmaceuticals, biofuels, and materials in microbes. Her lab’s efforts to manipulate the transport of electrons, small molecules, and signals across cellular boundaries is a vital component of most synthetic biology applications, and her team is developing the tools and methods to engineer membrane proteins and other protein superstructures to meet this challenge.

“It means a lot to have this external recognition of my work and its importance to the field," Tullman-Ercek said. These awards are a chance to celebrate the successes and impact that comes from all of the effort — both of my team and external collaborators and reviewers that have given helpful feedback over the years."

Tullman-Ercek will deliver the keynote lecture at the 13th European Symposium on Biochemical Engineering Sciences, which will take place September 17-20 in Portoroz, Slovenia. Her presentation will discuss the results of her work manipulating bacterial protein superstructures for the production of proteins and biochemicals.

A member of Northwestern’s Center for Synthetic Biology, Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience, Tullman-Ercek serves as director of the Master of Biotechnology program. Her honors include the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Outstanding Young Alumna Award, Searle Leadership award, Exxon Knowledge Build Award, NSF CAREER award, Hellman Family Faculty Fund Award.

She is the second Northwestern Engineering faculty member to receive the award. Michael Jewett, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and director of the Center for Synthetic Biology, earned the honor in 2018.