School of Engineering
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Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering
BioPlants have an extraordinary capacity to harvest atmospheric CO2 and sunlight for the production of energy-rich biopolymers, clinically used drugs, and other biologically active small molecules. The metabolic pathways that produce these compounds are key to developing sustainable biofuel feedstocks, protecting crops from pathogens, and discovering new natural-product based therapeutics for human disease. These applications motivate us to find new ways to elucidate and engineer plant metabolism. We use a multidisciplinary approach combining chemistry, enzymology, genetics, and metabolomics to tackle problems that include new methods for delignification of lignocellulosic biomass and the engineering of plant antibiotic biosynthesis.
Eric S.G. Shaqfeh
Lester Levi Carter Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Mechanical EngineeringOn Leave from 04/01/2021 To 06/30/2021
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI have over 25 years experience in theoretical and computational research related to complex fluids following my PhD in 1986. This includes work in suspension mechanics of rigid partlcles (rods), solution mechanics of polymers and most recently suspensions of vesicles, capsules and mixtures of these with rigid particles. My research group is internationally known for pioneering work in all these areas.
Hyongsok Tom Soh
Professor of Radiology (Early Detection), of Electrical Engineering and, by courtesy, of Chemical Engineering and of Bioengineering
BioDr. Soh received his B.S. with a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science with Distinction from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. From 1999 to 2003, Dr. Soh served as the technical manager of MEMS Device Research Group at Bell Laboratories and Agere Systems. He was a faculty member at UCSB before joining Stanford in 2015. His current research interests are in analytical biotechnology, especially in high-throughput screening, directed evolution, and integrated biosensors.
Professor of Chemical Engineering and of Materials Science and Engineering
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsTheory and computation of biological processes and complex materials
Alfred M. Spormann
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, of Chemical Engineering and, by courtesy, of BiologyOn Partial Leave from 04/01/2021 To 06/30/2021
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMetabolism of anaerobic microbes in diseases, bioenergy, and bioremediation
James H. Clark Professor in the School of Engineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering and of Bioengineering
BioProfessor Swartz received his first lessons in resourcefulness and persistence growing up on a farm in South Dakota. After earning a BS in Chemical Engineering with Highest Honors from S. Dak. School of Mines and Technology, he began his professional career with Union Oil Co. of CA in Casper, Wyoming. Serving in the Drilling, Reservoir Engineering, and Production Departments provided an appreciation of the complexity and importance of large scale energy technologies. That experience also strengthened his belief that biological technologies offered the power and versatility to better address evolving societal needs. The MIT graduate programs in chemical engineering (MS) and biochemical engineering (Dsc) helped strengthen his biological training while broadening an appreciation for this emerging field. Following a 3 month exchange visit to the Soviet Union, he gained additional experience at Eli Lilly and participated in the development of the first recombinant DNA pharmaceutical to be approved, rDNA insulin. After two years, he moved to Genentech to help establish their drug production capability, developing the fermentation process for their first product, rDNA growth hormone.
After 17 years at Genentech in various line and project leadership positions, he joined the Stanford Chemical Engineering Department with a focus on an embryonic technology called cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS). Multiple technology breakthroughs from his lab motivated the founding of Sutro Biopharma which now has four promising anti-cancer drugs in clinical trials. A new company called Vaxcyte later spun out of Sutro to focus on complex human vaccines enabled by CFPS. Both companies are now publicly traded. Another company, GreenLight Biosciences, is focusing on inexpensive, large scale RNA production for use against agricultural pests. At Stanford, Professor Swartz is now focusing on expanding the basic capabilities of cell-free bioprocess while also developing technologies for targeted drug development, vaccines, circulating tumor cell assays, the carbon negative production of commodity biochemicals, and for economically attractive photosynthetic hydrogen production.