On what a Scientist is supposed to be

“Scientists are people of very dissimilar temperaments doing different things in very different ways. Among scientists are collectors, classifiers, and compulsive tidiers-up; many are detectives by temperament and many are explorers; some are artists and others artisans. There are poet-scientists and philosopher-scientists and even a few mystics. Obligative scientists must be very rare and most people who are in fact scientists could easily have been something else” – Sir Peter Medawar, The Strange Case of the Spotted Mice and Other Classic Essays on Science

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Aindrila Mukhopadhyay

PI, M-group. Senior Scientist, Biological Systems & Engineering, LBNL, VP Biofuels and Bioproducts, JBEI. Adjunct Faculty SOLS, ASU. Adjunct Prof. Comparative Biochemistry, UC Berkeley.

EMAIL: amukhopadhyay@lbl.gov

Research Interest: Many microbial biomanufacturing, genetics and genomics projects. All of them relate to obtaining a better understanding of how microbes regulate complex phenotypes like metabolism, signaling, and stress response and how they can be engineered for better bioproduction. Or to simply to understand their role in their environment.

Personal interests: I love to draw. I like to read – the last good books I’ve read are all non-fiction by Ursula Le Guin. A great spot in East Bay is Lake Merritt by the bird sanctuary.


Research Scientists:

Dr. Thomas Eng553555_810673940768_1539758969_n

Research Scientist, Biological Systems & Engineering, LBNL

EMAIL: tteng@lbl.gov

Ph.D. Molecular and Cell Biology, UC Berkeley, 2015
B.S. Biology, MIT, 2007

FAVORITE SCIENTIST: A tie between Rosalind Franklin and Dr. Horrible (unclear if he REALLY has a medical degree).

WEBSITE: https://www.linkedin.com/in/engthomas

Dr. Deepanwita Banerjee

Research Scientist, Biological Systems & Engineering, LBNL

EMAIL: dbanerjee@lbl.gov

Ph.D. Biological Sciences, CSIR – National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India
M. Tech. Biotechnology, National Institute of Technology Rourkela, India
B. Tech. Biotechnology, MDU Rohtak, India
Research interests: I am currently working on computationally driven host engineering for growth-coupled production of biofuels and bioproducts using the Product Substrate Pairing (PSP) approach. I use computational strain optimization methods and genome scale metabolic models (GSM) to predict gene targets for engineering Pseudomonas putida. I am also working towards predicting PSP strategies in P. putida for utilization of lignocellulose derived carbon sources for bioenergy and biomanufacturing applications. The goal is to test and learn to better design robust and sustainable microbial hosts that maintain desirable phenotype across industrially relevant scales and conditions.
Personal interests: Outside of work, I like to cook, craft, paint and photograph. Currently obsessed with gardening and learning more about growth promoting micro and macronutrients for plants.

Postdoctoral Fellows:

Dr. Jing Huang

Postdoctoral Fellow, Biological Systems & Engineering, LBNL (Keasling and Mukhopadhyay Groups)

EMAIL: jinghuang@lbl.gov

Ph.D. Biology, Tsinghua University
B. S. Biotechnology, Beijing University of Chemical technology



Research Interest: Engineering metalloenzymes or creating artificial metalloenzymes to catalyze abiological reactions and introducing those reactions into biosynthesis to generate new chemicals.

Personal interests: When not in the lab I enjoy hiking and computer games.

Dr. Aparajitha Srinivasan

Postdoctoral Fellow, Biological Systems & Engineering, LBNL

EMAIL: asrinivasan@lbl.gov

PhD. Biotechnology, IIT Madras, Chennai, India
M.Tech. Marine Biotechnology, CUSAT, Kochi, India
B.Tech. Biotechnology, SASTRA University, Tanjore, India

Research interests: I am currently working on engineering Corynebacterium         glutamicum and Pseudomonas putida to utilize plant biomass components for     production of biofuels and bioproducts.

Personal interests: Outside of work, I like to read science fiction, watch sitcoms,  cook, play board/card games with friends. Currently obsessed with daily  Wordle/Dordle challenge and reading “The Code Breaker”.

WEBSITE: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aparajitha-srinivasan/

Dr. Shweta Priya

Postdoctoral Fellow, Biological Systems & Engineering, LBNL

EMAIL: spriya@lbl.gov

PhD in soil microbiology, Texas A&M University
MS in Microbiology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI)


Research interests: I am working on m-CAFEs project and my role is to understand the persistence and fate of engineered microbes across rhizosphere communities using fabricated ecosystems and to determine how environmental stresses such as drought impact the migration and fitness of these engineered systems.

Personal interests: In my free time like traveling and reading fiction novels.

Graduate Students:

Alex Codik

Graduate Student, Comparative Biochemistry, UC Berkeley

EMAIL: acoodik@lbl.gov

Research Associate at Zymergen, 2020
B.S. Biochemistry, Santa Clara University, 2018



Research interests: I am currently participating in The ENIGMA project testing different environmental isolates, and working on growth-coupled strategies in Pseudomonas putida.

Personal interests: On my free time I like reading science fiction, trying different foods and restaurants and working out.


Javier Menasalvas

Research Assistant, Biological Systems and Engineering Division

EMAIL: jmenasalvas@lbl.gov

B.S. Biotechnology, Europea University of Madrid

Research Assistants:

Shawn Kulakowski

Research Assistant, Biological Systems and Engineering Division

EMAIL: ShawnKulakowski@lbl.gov

B.A. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, B.S. Chemical Biology – UC Berkeley



Research interests: I am currently working on metabolic engineering of Pseudomonas putida for enhanced production of the biofuel Isoprenol, and developing synthetic biology tools for nitrogen-fixing bacteria to create sustainable alternatives to chemical fertilizers.

Personal interests: In my free time I enjoy skateboarding and mixed martial arts.

Undergraduate students:

Kevin Chen-Xiao

B.S. in Molecular Toxicology, UC Berkeley

EMAIL: kchenxiao@lbl.gov

Research interests: I am interested in topics involving the multiple facets of molecular genetics and cell biology in the context of metabolism.

Personal interests: I enjoy producing music, cooking, and outdoor sports like skiing and surfing in my free time.

WEBSITE: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-c-030b35159/


Kevin Lam

B.S Chemical Engineering, UC Berkeley

EMAIL: kevinraylam@lbl.gov

Personal interests: Water sports and trying out various cuisines.



Visiting Scholars

Guilherme Viana de Siqueira

University of São Paulo

EMAIL: viana.guilherme@lbl.gov

We are always happy to have visiting scholars! Please contact us to find out how to become a visiting scholar at LBL and in our group.


Alumni and Former Visiting Scholars