Faculty Directory
Danielle Tullman-Ercek

Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Director, Master of Science in Biotechnology Program


2145 Sheridan Road
Silverman 3619
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

847-491-7043Email Danielle Tullman-Ercek


Tullman-Ercek Lab


Chemical and Biological Engineering


Master of Biotechnology Program

PhD Program in Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences

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Ph.D Chemical Engineering, University of Texas - Austin, Austin, TX

B.S. Chemical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL

Research Interests

The Tullman-Ercek lab builds biomolecular devices for a wide range of applications in areas from medicine to the environment. In particular, Tullman-Ercek lab research focuses on highly organized self-assembling proteins – the nanoscale building blocks of biology. Such systems abound in the living world, and the resulting assemblies govern critical processes at all levels of life, from the formation of virus capsids to the transport of oxygen in the blood. The Tullman-Ercek lab is interested in several questions related to self-assembling systems: 1) What fundamental principles govern the precise organization of proteins at the nanoscale? 2) How does organization of biochemical processes enhance their performance? 3) How can we manipulate these protein assemblies to gain new or enhanced functions in living and non-living systems? Current model systems include protein containers such as the MS2 viral capsid and bacterial organelles called microcompartments, and membrane protein machines such as the type III secretion system. In the process of trying to engineer these systems to gain or improve function, surprising observations often surface that lead to hypothesis-driven approaches to better understand the native systems.

Selected Publications

1. Liang, J.M., Burdette L., Wong H.T., Tullman-Ercek D.* (2023) “Construction of a constitutively active type III secretion system for heterologous protein secretion” Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 107(5-6):1785-1800.

2. Ikwuagwu B., Hartman E., Mills C.E., Tullman-Ercek D.* (2023) “Systematic Engineering of Virus-Like Particles to Identify Self-Assembly Rules for Shifting Particle Size” Virology 579:137-147. 

3. Mills C.E., Waltmann C. Archer A.G., Kennedy N.W., Abrhamson C.H., Jackson A.D., Roth E.W., Shirman S., Jewett M.C., Mangan N.M., Olvera de la Cruz M., Tullman-Ercek D.* (2022) “Vertex protein PduN tunes encapsulated pathway performance by dictating bacterial metabolosome morphology.” Nature Comm 13: 3746.

4. Waltmann C., Mills C.E., Wang J., Qiao B., Torkelson J.M., Tullman-Ercek D., Olvera de la Cruz M.* (2022) “Functional enzyme-polymer complexes.” Proc Natl Acad Sci 119(13):e2119509119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2119509119.

5. Chen Y., Wang Q., Mills C.E., Kann J.G., Shull KR, Tullman-Ercek D., Wang M. (2021) “High-Throughput Screening Test for Adhesion in Soft Materials Using Centrifugation.” ACS Central Science 7(7):1135-1143. doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.1c00414.

6. Li Y., Kennedy N.W., Li S., Mills C.E., Tullman-Ercek D.*, Olvera de la Cruz M.* (2021) “Computational and experimental approaches to controlling bacterial microcompartment assembly.” ACS Central Science 7(4):658-670. doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.0c01699.

7. Burdette L.A., Wong H.T., Tullman-Ercek D. (2021) “An optimized growth medium for increased recombinant protein secretion titer via the type III secretion system.” Microb Cell Factories 20(1):44. doi: 10.1186/s12934-021-01536-z.

8. Hartman E.C., Jakobson C.M., Favor A.H., Benedicto E.A., Francis M.B., Tullman-Ercek D. (2018) “Quantitative characterization of all single amino acid variants of a viral capsid-based drug delivery vehicle.” Nature Comm. 9(1): 1385.