Welcome to the Rao lab

We are a synthetic and systems biology research group at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Our aim is to investigate cell physiology via genetic engineering and mathematical modeling.

Our lab studies how cells process information. We are especially interested in understanding how decision-making processes are encoded within individual cells through feedback control.

We are also engineering bacteria and yeast for the production of biofuels. Specifically, our goal is to optimize the uptake and metabolism of C5/C6 sugars in bacteria by developing new genetic tools.

Our group also has a focus on other feedstocks such as C1 (methane, formate), C2 (acetate), and CN (aliphatic polymers like polyethylene) for remediation, valorization, and food-production purposes.

We are grateful for funding from Illinois, Department of Energy and Shell.


April 2024

Joshua passed his prelim. Congratulations!

March 2024

William defended! Congratulations

Nov 2023

Congratulations to Aswini Bedekar for the 2023 Innovator Award from the Association for Women in Science

Nov 2023

Congratulations to Christopher Rao for the Mentzer investiture!

Oct 2023

Welcome to the lab: Fakhraddin Eminli and Afia Subhani

Sept 2023

Thanh, Cindy, and Keertna passed their qualifying exams. Yay

Oct 2022

Welcome to the lab: Thanh, Cindy, and Keertna. Lab is starting to look busy now!

May 2022

Sichong defended! Congratulations and good luck at Genomatica

May 2022

Anshu defended! Congratulations and good luck at NAID

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