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Personal profile

Personal profile

Dr. Huimin Zhao is the Steven L. Miller Chair Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and professor of chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, and bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He received his B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1992 and his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1998 under the guidance of Dr. Frances Arnold. Prior to joining UIUC in 2000, he was a project leader at the Industrial Biotechnology Laboratory of the Dow Chemical Company. He was promoted to full professor in 2008. Dr. Zhao has authored and co-authored over 240 research articles and over 20 issued and pending patent applications with several being licensed by industry. In addition, he has given plenary, keynote or invited lectures in over 260 international meetings, universities, industries, and research institutes.

Research Interests

Synthetic biology; natural product biosynthesis; protein engineering; metabolic engineering; genome engineering; directed evolution

Professional Information

Zhao laboratory develops and applies synthetic biology approaches to engineer functionally improved or novel proteins, pathways, and genomes. In parallel, Zhao laboratory investigates the protein structure-function relationship, cell metabolism, and mechanisms of gene expression and regulation. Our current research program centers on four distinct yet related areas, including foundational tool development, drug discovery and development, industrial biotechnology, and mammalian synthetic biology.

Office Address

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University of Illinois
215 RAL, Box C-3
600 S. Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801

Office Phone

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Research Output

A genetic toolbox for metabolic engineering of Issatchenkia orientalis

Cao, M., Fatma, Z., Song, X., Hsieh, P. H., Tran, V. G., Lyon, W. L., Sayadi, M., Shao, Z., Yoshikuni, Y. & Zhao, H., May 2020, In : Metabolic Engineering. 59, p. 87-97 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • A mass spectrometry-based high-throughput screening method for engineering fatty acid synthases with improved production of medium-chain fatty acids

    Xue, P., Si, T., Mishra, S., Zhang, L., Choe, K., Sweedler, J. V. & Zhao, H., Jan 1 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Biotechnology and bioengineering.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • A New Biosensor for Stilbenes and a Cannabinoid Enabled by Genome Mining of a Transcriptional Regulator

    Sun, H., Zhao, H. & Ang, E. L., Apr 17 2020, In : ACS synthetic biology. 9, 4, p. 698-705 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • A Pathway for Degradation of Uracil to Acetyl Coenzyme A in Bacillus megaterium

    Zhu, D., Wei, Y., Yin, J., Liu, D., Ang, E. L., Zhao, H. & Zhang, Y., Mar 18 2020, In : Applied and environmental microbiology. 86, 7

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Biosynthetic engineering of the antifungal, anti-MRSA auroramycin

    Yeo, W. L., Heng, E., Tan, L. L., Lim, Y. W., Ching, K. C., Tsai, D. J., Jhang, Y. W., Lauderdale, T. L., Shia, K. S., Zhao, H., Ang, E. L., Zhang, M. M., Lim, Y. H. & Wong, F. T., Jan 6 2020, In : Microbial cell factories. 19, 1, 3.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access