Koffas Research Group

Network and Metabolic Engineering

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Lab Alumni

Doctor of Philosophy:


Dr. Wenqin He:
Doctor of Philosophy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, May 2017.

Thesis title:
"Metabolic Engineering and Applied Enzymology for the Preparation of Nutraceutical / Pharmaceutical Chondroitin Sulfate."


Dr. Jake Englaender:
Doctor of Philosophy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, August 2016.

Thesis title:
"Exploring Alternative Expression Systems for Expression of Heterologous Proteins and Metabolic Pathways."
Current position:
Postdoctoral associate, Purdue University, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Dr. J. Andrew Jones:
Doctor of Philosophy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, May 2016.

Thesis title:
"Pathway Optimization and Balancing for the Improved Production of High-Value Chemicals."
Current position:
Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Hamilton College
Website: http://academics.hamilton.edu/chemistry/faculty-jones


Dr. Brady Cress:
Doctor of Philosophy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, May 2016.

Thesis title:
"Engineered CRISPR Systems and Other Novel Metabolic Engineering Tools for Production of Natural Compounds."
Current position:
Postdoctoral associate, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering


Dr. Namita Bhan:
Doctor of Philosophy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, August 2014.

Thesis title:
"Rational design for improving production, biological activity and identification of natural products."
Current position:
Postdoctoral associate, Northwestern University, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering


Dr. Peng Xu:
Doctor of Philosophy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, May 2013.

Thesis title:
"Enhancement of malonyl-CoA flux in Escherichia coli."
Current position:
Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County


Dr. Ryan Lim:
Doctor of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, May 2011.

Thesis title:
"Development of methodologies for the efficient functional expression of P450 monooxygenases in microorganisms."
Current position:
Senior Researcher at Manus Biosciences


Dr. Zachary Fowler:
Doctor of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, August 2010.

Thesis title:
"Design of optimal phenotypes for efficient plant secondary metabolite biosynthesis in microorganisms."
Current position:
Research Scientist at Praxair


Dr. Joseph Chemler:
Doctor of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, August 2009.

Thesis title:
"Engineering non-natural polyphenols derivatives with applications in type II diabetes and obesity treatments."
Current position:
Research Scientist at Pfizer


Dr. Yajun Yan:
Doctor of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, June 2008.

Thesis title:
"Metabolic engineering of plant pigment biosynthesis in Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae."
Current position:
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Georgia
Website: https://sites.google.com/site/yajunyanugalab/


Dr. Effendi Leonard:
Doctor of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, June 2007.

Thesis title:
"Robust microbial fabrication of plant pharmaceuticals: complexities and solutions."
Current position:
Senior Research Scientist at Provivi
Website: http://provivi.com/team/



Masters of Science and Engineering:


Ömer Duhan Toparlak:
Masters of Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, August 2015.

Thesis title:
"Compartmentalization of Metabolic Pathways into Peroxisomes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae."
Current position:
PhD Student, University of Trento, Trento, Italy.


Lynn Wong:
Masters of Science, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, May 2011.

Thesis title:
"Engineering resveratrol biosynthesis in microorganisms."
Current position:
Manus Biochemicals, Cambridge, MA


Sankaranarayanan Venkiteswaran:
Masters of Science, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, May 2011.

Thesis title:
"Antimicrobial and antifungal properties of non-natural catechins."


Sriram Ramamoorthi:
Masters of Science, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, May 2011.

Thesis title:
"Antimicrobial and antifungal properties of non-natural flavanones."
Current position:
PhD Candidate, Department of Chemical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Karan Prakash Shah:
Masters of Science, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, December 2009.

Thesis title:
"Use of antisense RNA for controlling gene expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae."


Ramanan Sekar:
Masters of Science, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, August 2009.

Thesis title:
"Identification of optimal genotypes for improved malonyl-CoA availability in Escherichia coli."
Current position:
PhD student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering


Amruta Bedekar:
Masters of Science, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, December 2008.

Thesis title:
"Use of riboswitches for regulating gene expression in Escherichia coli."
Current position:
Genomatica


Ashish Pravinbhai Chitalia:
Masters of Engineering, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, December 2008.

Thesis title:
"Development of Escherichia coli fermentation methodologies for isoflavonoids large production."
Current position:
Cunnigham Manufacturer’s Representative Inc., Houston, TX


Zhen Li:
Masters of Science, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, May 2008.

Thesis title:
"Identification of knock-out targets for optimal plant pigment biosynthesis in Escherichia coli."
Current position:
Ms. Li was offered a technician position in Jim Liao’s laboratory. She opted not to work.


Hsiying Gloria Chu:
Masters of Engineering, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, December 2007.

Thesis title:
"Development of constrained-based modeling of diazotroph Azospirillum brasilense."
Current position:
Procter and Gamble, NJ


Phan Nee Saw:
Masters of Science, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, September 2007.

Thesis title:
"Recycling acetate for improving flavanone production from Escherichia coli."
Current position:
Research Scientist, MEWAH Group, Singapore


William Gikandi:
Masters of Science, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, September 2006.

Thesis title:
"Optimization based frameworks and search methodologies for the analysis and redesign of the Escherichia coli metabolic network."


Adam Krol:
Masters of Engineering, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, August 2006.

Thesis title:
"Optimization of malonyl-CoA availability in Escherichia coli through heterologous gene expression."
Current position:
Law School Student, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York


Christopher Renzi:
Masters of Engineering, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.

Thesis title:
"Optimization of flavanone production in Escherichia coli through inhibition of fatty acid biosynthesis."
Current position:
Research Scientist, Fermentation Process Development, AMRI (formerly Albany Molecular Research).