Faculty Directory
Keith E.J. Tyo

Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech E156
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

847-467-2972Email Keith Tyo


Tyo Research Group


Center for Synthetic Biology


Chemical and Biological Engineering


PhD Program in Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences

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Ph.D., MIT, Cambridge, MA

M.S., MIT, Cambridge, MA

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


Research Interests

Synthetic biology, 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

  • William Bothfeld, Grace Kapov, Keith E.J. Tyo, “A Glucose-Sensing Toggle Switch for Autonomous, High Productivity Genetic Control”, ACS Synthetic Biology, (2017)
  • Jessica S. Yu, Dante A. Pertusi, Adebola V. Adeniran, Keith E.J. Tyo, Jonathan Wren, “CellSort”, Bioinformatics, (2017)
  • Christopher S. Henry, Ella Rotman, Wyndham W. Lathem, Keith E.J. Tyo, Alan R. Hauser, Mark J. Mandel, “Generation and Validation of the iKp1289 Metabolic Model for Klebsiella pneumoniae KPPR1”, Journal of Infectious Diseases, (2017)
  • Thaddeus R. Cybulski, Edward S. Boyden, George M. Church, Keith E.J. Tyo, Konrad P. Kording, “Nucleotide-time alignment for molecular recorders”, PLoS Computational Biology, (2017)
  • Sarah C. Stainbrook, Jessica S. Yu, Michael P. Reddick, Neda Bagheri, Keith E.J. Tyo, “Modulating and evaluating receptor promiscuity through directed evolution and modeling”, Protein Engineering, Design and Selection, (2017)
  • James Jeffryes, Jonathan Strutz, Chris Henry, Keith E.J. Tyo, “Methods in Molecular Biology”, Springer, (2017)
  • Aaron M. Love, Bradley W. Biggs, Keith E.J. Tyo, Parayil Kumaran Ajikumar, “Methods in Molecular Biology”, Springer, (2017)
  • Egon A. Ozer, Andrew R. Morris, Fiorella Krapp, Christopher S. Henry, Keith E. Tyo, Wyndham W. Lathem, Alan R. Hauser, “Draft genome sequence of a multidrug-resistant Klebsiella quasipneumoniae subsp. Similipneumoniae isolate from a clinical source”, Genome Announcements, (2016)