Flagship Research Programs

At SynCTI, we have 3 major flagship research programs namely Cells by Design, Industrial Biosolutions and Microbiome Based Solutions, where our devoted researchers are developing engineered biological systems for a solution-driven approach in key areas such as healthcare, energy and environment. This is powered by our top-notch state of the art NUS BioFoundry that aids in accelerating our research to mould biosystems to our advantage.

Cells by Design

Industrial Biosolution

Microbiome-based Solutions

Featured Research

Flavour Matters

Li Lab

Flavour Matters

2-Phenylethanol (2-PE) is a value-added aromatic compound in high demand by cosmetics and food industries because of its rose like aroma. It is an expensive process to isolate this aromatic compound from natural Rose, and hence there is a need to come up with an economically sustainable process to obtain this value-added compound. At SynCTI, our researchers have re-engineered microbes like E. coli and used them as workhorses to produce improvised 2-Phenylethanol from substrates such as glucose and glycerol which gives better yield and are sustainable. Read more

Gut Health

Matthew Lab

Gut Health

Our bodies harbour huge array of microorganisms ranging from bacteria to fungi to viruses which together are dubbed as human microbiota. Of late there is enough evidence to suggest that these microbial communities especially in the gut plays an important role in human physiology and health. In this review, researchers from Chang lab comprehensively focus on the role of gut microbiome in host metabolism and immune system. It also provides latest developments in the field where these microbiomes can be targeted for therapies against many health conditions. Read more

Publications

2020

Genetic biosensor design for natural product biosynthesis in microorganisms
Hossain GS, Saini M, Miyake R, Ling H, Chang MW
Trends in Biotechnology (in press)

Engineering probiotics for therapeutic applications: recent examples and translational outlook
Aggarwal N, Breedon A, Davis C, Hwang IY, Chang MW
Current Opinion in Biotechnology (in press)

Attractor concepts to evaluate the transcriptome-wide dynamics guiding anaerobic to aerobic state transition in Escherichia coli
Bui TT, Selvarajoo K
Scientific Reports 10: 5878 (2020)

Blue Light-Directed Cell Migration, Aggregation, and Patterning
Jingyun Zhang, Yuhuan Luo, Chueh Loo Poh
Journal of Molecular Biology (2020)

Toolkit development for cyanogenic and gold biorecovery chassis Chromobacterium violaceum
Lu Ting Liow, Maybelle Kho Go, Matthew Wook Chang, Wen Shan Yew
ACS Synth. Biol. 2020, 9, 4, 953-961 (2020)

Engineering Yarrowia lipolytica towards food waste bioremediation: Production of fatty acid ethyl esters from vegetable cooking oil
Ng TK, Yu AQ, Ling H, Juwono NK, Choi WJ, Leong SS, Chang MW
Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering 129 (1): 31-40 (2020)


2019

Engineering commensal bacteria to rewire host-microbiome interactions
Hwang IY, Chang MW.
Current Opinion in Biotechnology 62:116-122 (2019)

Phage-boosted chemotherapy.
Aggarwal N, Hwang IY, Chang MW.
Nature biomedical engineering 3(9):680-681 (2019)

Engineering Yarrowia lipolytica towards food waste bioremediation: Production of fatty acid ethyl esters from vegetable cooking oil.
Ng TK, Yu AQ, Ling H, Pratomo Juwono NK, Choi WJ, Leong SSJ, Chang MW.
Journal of bioscience and bioengineering 129 (1): 31-40 (2020)

Author Correction: Building a global alliance of biofoundries.
Hillson N, Caddick M, Cai Y, Carrasco JA, Chang MW, Curach NC, Bell DJ, Feuvre RL, Friedman DC, Fu X, Gold ND, Herrgård MJ, Holowko MB, Johnson JR, Johnson RA, Keasling JD, Kitney RI, Kondo A, Liu C, Martin VJJ, Menolascina F, Ogino C, Patron NJ, Pavan M, Poh CL, Pretorius IS, Rosser SJ, Scrutton NS, Storch M, Tekotte H, Travnik E, Vickers CE, Yew WS, Yuan Y, Zhao H, Freemont PS.
Nat Commun. 2019 Jul 11;10(1):3132. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10862-1.

A novel synchronization approach using synthetic magnetic Escherichia coli
Ling H, Chang MW.
Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology. 4(3):130-1 (2019)

Meta-omics-and metabolic modelling-assisted deciphering of human microbiota metabolism
Sieow BF, Nurminen TJ, Ling H, Chang MW.
Biotechnology journal. 30:1800445 (2019)

Building a global alliance of biofoundries
Hillson N, Caddick M, Cai Y, Carrasco JA, Chang MW, Curach NC, Bell DJ, Le Feuvre R, Friedman DC, Fu X, Gold ND, Herrgård MJ, Holowko MB, Johnson JR, Johnson RA, Keasling JD, Kitney RI, Kondo A, Liu C, Martin VJJ, Menolascina F, Ogino C, Patron NJ, Pavan M, Poh CL, Pretorius IS, Rosser SJ, Scrutton NS, Storch M, Tekotte H, Travnik E, Vickers CE, Yew WS, Yuan Y, Zhao H, Freemont PS.
Nat Communications. 10(1):2040 (2019)

Synthetic genetic circuits for programmable biological functionalities
Xia PF, Ling H, Foo JL, Chang MW.
Biotechnol Advances pii: S0734-9750(19)30074-6 (2019)

Synthetic Biology Toolkits for Metabolic Engineering of Cyanobacteria
Xia PF, Ling H, Foo JL, Chang MW.
Biotechnol Journal. e1800496. (2019)


2020

Genetic biosensor design for natural product biosynthesis in microorganisms
Hossain GS, Saini M, Miyake R, Ling H, Chang MW
Trends in Biotechnology (in press)

Engineering probiotics for therapeutic applications: recent examples and translational outlook
Aggarwal N, Breedon A, Davis C, Hwang IY, Chang MW
Current Opinion in Biotechnology (in press)

Attractor concepts to evaluate the transcriptome-wide dynamics guiding anaerobic to aerobic state transition in Escherichia coli
Bui TT, Selvarajoo K
Scientific Reports 10: 5878 (2020)

Blue Light-Directed Cell Migration, Aggregation, and Patterning
Jingyun Zhang, Yuhuan Luo, Chueh Loo Poh
Journal of Molecular Biology (2020)

Toolkit development for cyanogenic and gold biorecovery chassis Chromobacterium violaceum
Lu Ting Liow, Maybelle Kho Go, Matthew Wook Chang, Wen Shan Yew
ACS Synth. Biol. 2020, 9, 4, 953-961 (2020)

Engineering Yarrowia lipolytica towards food waste bioremediation: Production of fatty acid ethyl esters from vegetable cooking oil
Ng TK, Yu AQ, Ling H, Juwono NK, Choi WJ, Leong SS, Chang MW
Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering 129 (1): 31-40 (2020)


2019

Engineering commensal bacteria to rewire host-microbiome interactions
Hwang IY, Chang MW.
Current Opinion in Biotechnology 62:116-122 (2019)

Phage-boosted chemotherapy.
Aggarwal N, Hwang IY, Chang MW.
Nature biomedical engineering 3(9):680-681 (2019)

Engineering Yarrowia lipolytica towards food waste bioremediation: Production of fatty acid ethyl esters from vegetable cooking oil.
Ng TK, Yu AQ, Ling H, Pratomo Juwono NK, Choi WJ, Leong SSJ, Chang MW.
Journal of bioscience and bioengineering 129 (1): 31-40 (2020)

Author Correction: Building a global alliance of biofoundries.
Hillson N, Caddick M, Cai Y, Carrasco JA, Chang MW, Curach NC, Bell DJ, Feuvre RL, Friedman DC, Fu X, Gold ND, Herrgård MJ, Holowko MB, Johnson JR, Johnson RA, Keasling JD, Kitney RI, Kondo A, Liu C, Martin VJJ, Menolascina F, Ogino C, Patron NJ, Pavan M, Poh CL, Pretorius IS, Rosser SJ, Scrutton NS, Storch M, Tekotte H, Travnik E, Vickers CE, Yew WS, Yuan Y, Zhao H, Freemont PS.
Nat Commun. 2019 Jul 11;10(1):3132. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10862-1.

A novel synchronization approach using synthetic magnetic Escherichia coli
Ling H, Chang MW.
Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology. 4(3):130-1 (2019)

Meta-omics-and metabolic modelling-assisted deciphering of human microbiota metabolism
Sieow BF, Nurminen TJ, Ling H, Chang MW.
Biotechnology journal. 30:1800445 (2019)

Building a global alliance of biofoundries
Hillson N, Caddick M, Cai Y, Carrasco JA, Chang MW, Curach NC, Bell DJ, Le Feuvre R, Friedman DC, Fu X, Gold ND, Herrgård MJ, Holowko MB, Johnson JR, Johnson RA, Keasling JD, Kitney RI, Kondo A, Liu C, Martin VJJ, Menolascina F, Ogino C, Patron NJ, Pavan M, Poh CL, Pretorius IS, Rosser SJ, Scrutton NS, Storch M, Tekotte H, Travnik E, Vickers CE, Yew WS, Yuan Y, Zhao H, Freemont PS.
Nat Communications. 10(1):2040 (2019)

Synthetic genetic circuits for programmable biological functionalities
Xia PF, Ling H, Foo JL, Chang MW.
Biotechnol Advances pii: S0734-9750(19)30074-6 (2019)

Synthetic Biology Toolkits for Metabolic Engineering of Cyanobacteria
Xia PF, Ling H, Foo JL, Chang MW.
Biotechnol Journal. e1800496. (2019)


2018

An oleaginous yeast platform for renewable 1-butanol synthesis based on a heterologous CoA-dependent pathway and an endogenous pathway
Yu A, Zhao Y, Pang Y, Hu Z, Zhang C, Xiao D, Chang MW, Leong SSJ
Microb Cell Fact 17(1):166 (2018)

Synthetic Enzymology and the Fountain of Youth: Repurposing Biology for Longevity
Lim YP, Go MK, Raida M, Inoue T, Wenk MR, Keasling JD, Chang MW, Yew WS
ACS Omega 3(9):11050-11061 (2018)

Genetically Engineered Bacteria as Vehicles for Localized Delivery of Therapeutics: An Application for Crohn’s Disease
McKay R, Ghodasra M, Schardt K, Quan D, Pottash A, Shang W, Jay S, Payne G, Chang M, March J, Bentley W
Bioengineering & Translational Medicine 3(3) (2018)

Synthetic biology toolkits and applications in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Chen B, Lee HL, Heng YC, Chua N, Teo WS, Choi WJ, Leong SS, Foo JL, Chang MW
Biotechnology Advances 36(7):1870-1881 (2018)

Immunomodulation as Therapy for Fungal Infection: Are We Closer?
Sam QH, Yew WS, Seneviratne CJ, Chang MW, Chai LYA
Frontiers in Microbiology 9(1612) (2018)

Targeted approaches for in situ gut microbiome manipulation
Lee HL, Shen H, Hwang IY, Ling H, Yew WS, Lee YS, Chang MW
Genes 9:351 (2018)

Synthetic yeast genome reveals its versatility
Foo JL, Chang MW
Nature 557:647-648 (2018)

Engineering microbes for targeted strikes against human pathogens
Hwang IY, Lee HL, Huang JG, Lim YY, Yew WS, Lee YS, Chang MW
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 75:2719-2733 (2018)

Anhydrous polymer‐based coating with sustainable controlled release functionality for facile, efficacious impregnation, and delivery of antimicrobial peptides
Lim K, Saravanan R, Chong KKL, Goh SHM, Chua RRY, Tambyah PA, Chang MW, Kline KA, Leong SSJ
Biotechnology and Bioengineering 115:2000-2012 (2018)

Reprogramming probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri as a biosensor for Staphylococcus aureus derived AIP-I detection
Lubkowicz D, Ho CL, Hwang IY, Yew WS, Lee YS, Chang MW
ACS Synthetic Biology 7(5):1229-1237 (2018)

Rewriting the Metabolic Blueprint: Advances in Pathway Diversification in Microorganisms
Hossain GS, Nadarajan SP, Zhang L, Ng TK, Foo JL, Ling H, Choi WJ, Chang MW
Frontiers in Microbiology 9:155 (2018)

Engineered commensal microbes for dietmediated colorectal-cancer chemoprevention
Ho CL, Tan HQ, Chua KJ, Kang A, Lim KH, Ling KL, Yew WS, Lee YS, Thiery JP, Chang MW
Nature Biomedical Engineering 2:27–37 (2018)


2017

One-Pot Enantioselective Synthesis of d-Phenylglycines from Racemic Mandelic Acids, Styrenes, or Biobased l-Phenylalanine via Cascade Biocatalysis
Zhou Y, Wu S, Li Z
Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis 359(24):4305–4316 (2017)

Microscale Bioreactors for in situ characterization of GI epithelial cell physiology
Costello C, Philipson M, Hartmanis L, Kwasnica M, Chen V, Hackam D, Chang MW, Bentley W, March J
Scientific Reports 7:12515 (2017)

Autoinducer sensing microarrays by reporter bacteria encapsulated in hybrid supramolecular-polysaccharide hydrogels
Li P, Dou XO, Müller M, Feng C, Chang MW, Frettlöh M, Schönherr H
Macromolecular Bioscience 1700176:8-16 (2017)

Encapsulation of Autoinducer Sensing Reporter Bacteria in Reinforced Alginate-based Microbeads
Li P, Müller M, Chang MW, Frettlöh M, Schönherr H
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 9 (27):22321–22331 (2017)

Engineering a riboswitch-based genetic platform for the self-directed evolution of acid-tolerant phenotypes
Pham HL, Wong A, Chua N, Teo WS, Yew WS, and Chang MW
Nature Communications 8:411 (2017)

Isolated Reporter Bacteria in Supramolecular Hydrogel Microwell Arrays
Li P, Dou XQ, Feng C, Müller M, Chang MW, Frettlöh M, Schönherr H
Langmuir 33 (31):7799–7809(2017)

Designer probiotics for the prevention and treatment of human diseases
Chua KJ, Kwok WC, Aggarwal N, Sun T, Chang MW
Current Opinion in Chemical Biology 40:8-16 (2017)

Synthetic gene design using Codon Optimization On-Line (COOL)
Yu K, Ang KS, Lee DY
Methods in Molecular Biology 1472:13-34 (2017)

Engineered probiotic Escherichia coli can eliminate and prevent Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in animal models
Hwang IY, Koh E, Wong CK, March JC, Bentley WE, Lee YS, Chang MW
Nature Communications 8:15028 (2017)

Applying the Design-Build-Test paradigm in microbiome engineering
Pham HL, Ho CL, Wong A, Lee YS, Chang MW
Current Opinion in Biotechnology 48:85-93 (2017)

The fungal mycobiome and interaction with gut bacteria in the host
Sam QH, Chang MW, Chai LYA
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 18:330-341 (2017)

Microbiome engineering: current applications and its future
Foo JL, Ling H, Lee YS, Chang MW
Biotechnology Journal 12:e1600099 (2017)


2016

Highly regio- and enantioselective multiple oxy- and amino-functionalizations of alkenes by modular cascade biocatalysis
Wu S, Zhou Y, Wang T, Too HP, Wang DIC, Li Z
Nature Communications 7:11917 (2016)

Cascade biocatalysis for sustainable asymmetric synthesis: from biobased I-phenylalanine to high-value chiral chemicals
Zhou Y, Wu S, Li Z
Angewandte Chemie 55:11647-11650 (2016)

Multi-omics data driven analysis establishes reference codon biases for synthetic gene design in microbial and mammalian cells
Ang KS, Kyriakopoulos S., Li W, Lee DY
Methods 102:26-35 (2016)

Codon optimization of Saccharomyces cerevisiae mating factor alpha prepro-leader to improve recombinant protein production in Pichia pastoris
Ahn J, Jang MJ, Ang KS, Lee H, Choi ES, Lee DY
Biotechnology Letters 38:2137-2143 (2016)

A genetic algorithm-based approach for pre-processing metabolomics and lipidomics LC-MS data
Yeo HC, Chung BKS, Chong W, Chin JX, Ang KS, Lakshmanan M, Ho YS, Lee DY
Metabolomics 12: 5 (2016)

Transcriptomics-based strain optimization tool for designing secondary metabolite overproducing strains of Streptomyces coelicolor
Kim M, Yi JS, Lakshmanan M, Lee DY, Kim BG
Biotechnology and Bioengineering 113:651-660 (2016)

Coordinate regulation of metabolite glycosylation and stress hormone biosynthesis by TT8 in Arabidopsis
Rai A, Umashankar S, Rai M, Lim BK, Aow JSB, Swarup S
Plant Physiology 171:2499-2515 (2016)

Flagellin FliC phosphorylation affects type 2 protease secretion and biofilm dispersal in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1
Suriyanarayanan T, Periasamy S, Lin MH, Ishihama Y, Swarup S
PLoS One 11:e0164155 (2016)

Reprogrammable microbial cell-based therapeutics against antibiotic-resistant bacteria
Hwang IY, Koh E, Kim HR, Chang MW
Drug Resistance Updates 27:59-71 (2016)

Anti-virulent disruption of pathogenic biofilms using engineered quorum-quenching lactonases
Tay SB, Chow JY, Go M, Yew WS
Journal of Visualized Experiments 107:e53243 (2016)

Exploiting the biosynthetic potential of type III polyketide synthases
Lim YP, Go M, Yew WS
Molecules 21: 53-61 (2016)

A two-layer gene circuit for decoupling cell growth from metabolite production
Lo T, Chng SH, Teo WS, Cho HS, Chang MW
Cell Systems 3:133-143 (2016)

Metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the overproduction of short branched-chain fatty acids
Yu A, Pratomo NK, Foo JL, Leong SSJ, Chang MW
Metabolic Engineering 34:36-43 (2016)

Whole-cell biocatalytic and de novo production of alkanes from free fatty acids in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Foo JL, Susanto AV, Keasling JD, Leong SSJ, Chang MW
Biotechnology and Bioengineering 114:232-237 (2016)

Genetic engineering of an unconventional yeast for renewable biofuel and biochemical production
Yu AQ, Pratomo N, Ng TK, Ling H, Cho HS, Leong SS, Chang MW
Journal of Visualized Experiments 115:e54371 (2016)

Synthetic biology in Asia: New kid on the block
Chang MW
ACS Synthetic Biology 5: 1182-1183 (2016)

Genome-scale metabolic modeling in silico analysis of lipid accumulating yeast Candida tropicalis for dicarboxylic acid production
Mishra P, Park GY, Lakshmanan M, Lee HS, Lee H, Chang MW, Ching CB, Ahn J, Lee DY
Biotechnology and Bioengineering 113: 1993-2004 (2016)


2015

SynLinker: an integrated system for designing linkers and synthetic fusion proteins
Liu CC, Chin JX, Lee DY
Bioinformatics 22:3700-3702 (2015)

Synthetic fusion protein design and applications
Yu K, Liu CC, Kim BG, Lee DY
Biotechnology Advances 33:155-164 (2015)

Effect of linker flexibility and length on the functionality of a cytotoxic engineered antibody fragment
Klement M, Liu CC, Loo BLW, Choo ABH, Ow DSW, Lee DY
Journal of Biotechnology 199: 90-97 (2015)

In silico model-driven cofactor engineering strategies for improving the overall NADP(H) bioavailability in microbial cell factories
Lakshmanan M, Yu K, Koduru L, Lee DY
Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 42: 1401-1414 (2015)

Epoxide hydrolase-lasalocid A structure provides mechanistic insight into polyether natural product biosynthesis
Wong FT, Jotta K, Chen X, Fang M, Watanabe K, Kim CY
Journal of the American Chemical Society 137: 86-89 (2015)

Combinatorial metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for terminal alkene production
Chen BB, Lee DY, Chang MW
Metabolic Engineering 31:53-61 (2015)

Bacterial XylRs and synthetic promoters function as genetically encoded xylose biosensors in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Teo WS, Chang MW
Biotechnology Journal 10:315-322 (2015)

Matrix-immobilized yeast for large-scale production of recombinant human lactoferrin
Ho CL, Hwang IY, Loh K, Chang MW
Med Chem Comm 6:486-491 (2015)

Engineering transcription factors to improve against alkane biofuels in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Ling H, Pratomo NK, Teo WS, Liu R, Leong SSJ, Chang MW
Biotechnology for Biofuels 8:231-242 (2015)

Metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for production of fatty acid short- and branched-chain alkyl esters biodiesel
Teo WS, Yu A, Chang MW
Biotechnology for Biofuels 8:177-185 (2015)

Synthetic polyketide enzymology: platform for biosynthesis of antimicrobial polyketides
Go M, Wongsantichon J, Cheung, VWN, Chow JY, Robinson RC, Yew WS
ACS Catalysis 5:4033-4042 (2015)

Engineered strains enhance gold biorecovery from electronic scrap
Natarajan G, Tay SB, Yew WS, Ting YP
Minerals Engineering 75:32-37 (2015)

Engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce odd chain-length fatty alcohols
Jin Z, Wong A, Foo JL, Ng Joey, Cao YX, Chang MW, Yuan YJ
Biotechnology and Bioengineering 113:842-851 (2015)


2014

Production of fatty acid-derived valuable chemicals in synthetic microbes
Yu AQ, Pratomo Juwono NK, Leong SSJ, Chang MW
Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 2:78-89 (2014)

Microbial tolerance engineering toward biochemical production: from lignocellulose to products
Ling H, Teo W, Chen B, Leong SSJ, Chang MW
Current Opinion in Biotechnology 29:99-106 (2014)

Site specific immobilization of a potent antimicrobial peptide onto silicone catheters: evaluation against urinary tract infection pathogens
Mishra B, Basu A, Chua RRY, Saravanan R, Tambyah PA, Ho B, Chang MW, Leong SSJ
Journal of Materials Chemistry 2:1706-1716 (2014)

Therapeutic microbes for infectious disease
Wong CK, Tan MH, Rasouliha B, Hwang IY, Ling H, Poh CL and Chang MW
Methods in Molecular Biology 1151:117-133 (2014)

Identification of polyketide inhibitors targeting 3-dehydroquinate dehydratase in the shikimate pathway of Enterococcus faelis
Cheung VWN, Xue B, Valladares MH, Go M, Tung A, Aguda AH, Robinson RC, Yew WS
PLoS ONE 9:e103598 (2014)

Glycine decarboxylase is an unusual amino acid decarboxylase involved in tumorigenesis
Go M, Zhang WC, Lim B, Yew WS
Biochemistry 53: 947-956 (2014)

Disruption of Biofilm Formation by the Human Pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii using engineered quorum-quenching Lactonases
Chow JY, Yang Y, Tay SB, Chua KL, Yew WS
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 58: 1802-1805 (2014)