School of Engineering


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  • Tim Schnabel

    Tim Schnabel

    Research Asst - Graduate, Program-Sattely, E.

    BioMy biggest passion is solving problems. Biotechnology is fascinating and amazingly complex; it has the power to change the world in areas such as sustainable energy, food, and medicine. Between all of these, I do not mind the exact subject so much as the process of creatively finding a solution. I look to explore and expand said creativity and problem solving skills throughout my graduate study at Stanford.

    I was born in Germany and attended international schools in both Hannover, Germany, and London, England. After graduating with an IB Diploma I came to Stanford for undergraduate study in Chemical Engineering and Economics. Through an honors thesis project that covered all four years in the James R. Swartz Laboratory, I developed further depth and focus on biotechnology. I am currently enrolled as a Bioengineering student at Stanford and have worked on projects ranging from metabolic engineering of novel anti-cancer drugs to photosynthetic carbon concentration optimization to light-controlled cell division to novel HIV vaccines.

    I joined the Elizabeth Sattely lab for my thesis work, and am currently engineering plant-microbe interactions. Bacteria and fungi can confer a number of beneficial properties to crops, such as improved drought tolerance and nitrogen fixation. Understanding and then engineering these mechanisms is a complex, new, and extremely hot field of research. My current project focuses on engineering the cereal-crop-symbiotic bacterium Azospirillum brasilense to excrete ammonia at high rates and over prolonged time frames. If we are successful, then this can transform sustainable agriculture for the future.