Cong T. Trinh, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, focuses on the fundamental understanding and engineering of cellular metabolism with the ultimate goal to design, construct, and characterize cells with optimized metabolic functionalities. To this end, he applies and develops theoretical and experimental tools rooted in the interdisciplinary fields of systems, synthetic biology and metabolic and biochemical engineering to rationally design and develop whole-cell biocatalysts tailored for a variety of biotechnological applications related to health, food, energy, and the environment.
Trinh recently received the prestigious NSF Career award to develop underlying modular design principles to engineer desirable microbial manufacturing platforms for the efficient biosynthesis of targeted chemicals from biological parts in a rapid plug-and-play fashion. Transforming biology into engineering practice has a great potential to shape the industrialization of biology that will drive rapid development of novel microbial manufacturing platforms. These platforms will be capable of producing a vast number of industrially relevant chemicals at scale from alternative renewable feedstocks or wastes (e.g., biomass residues, biogas methane, syngas, CO2) without harming the environment.