Lauren Woodruff

photo of Lauren Woodruff

Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering

B.S., Cornelll University, Chemical Engineering, 2006

M.S., University of Colorado Boulder, Chemical Engineering, 2009

Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder, Chemical Engineering, 2012

Postdoc, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Biological Engineering and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, MIT-Broad Foundry

Research Interests

  • Synthetic biology and genome engineering
  • Metabolic engineering of model and non-model bacteria
  • Synthetic gene networks and genetically-encoded biosensors
  • High-throughput tools for genetic design optimization

The Woodruff Lab aims to uncover genetic design rules to reprogram regulation and metabolism in living cells for applications in health and biotechnology. To precisely control how a cell senses, remembers, and responds to its environment, we engineer synthetic gene networks and study their dynamics with experimental and modeling approaches. We develop high-throughput methodologies to build and interrogate large libraries of design variants using multiplexed DNA assembly, next-generation sequencing, and model-guided approaches to specify genetic diversity. This allows us to generate rich datasets that systematically and quantitatively investigate relationships between genetic composition of a design and its function in the context of the cell. With these tools and systems, our lab is working to advance the tremendous potential of harnessing living cells to autonomously sense and respond to their environment and utilize the remarkable biosynthetic machinery of biological systems to manufacture complex molecules.   


Google Scholar profile:


Woodruff LBA, Gorochowski TE, Roehner N, Mikkelsen TS, Densmore D, Gordon DB, Nicol R and Voigt CA. (2016) Registry in a tube: multiplexed pools of retrievable parts for genetic design space exploration. Nucleic Acids Research, doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw1226.

Smanski MJ, Bhatia S, Zhao D, Park Y, Woodruff LBA, Giannoukos G, Ciulla D, Busby M, Calderon J, Nicol R, Gordon DB, Densmore D and Voigt CA. (2014) Functional optimization of gene clusters by combinatorial design and assembly, Nature Biotechnology, 32: 1241-1249. 

Pandhal J, Woodruff LBA, Jaffe S, Desai P, Ow SY, Noirel J, Gill RT and Wright PC. (2013) Inverse metabolic engineering to improve Escherichia coli as an N-glycosylation host, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 110: 2482-2493.

Woodruff LBA, Boyle NR and Gill RT. (2013) Engineering improved ethanol production in Escherichia coli with a genome-wide approach, Metabolic Engineering, 17: 1-11.

Woodruff LBA, May BL, Warner JR and Gill RT. (2013) Towards a metabolic engineering strain “commons”: an Escherichia coli platform strain for ethanol production, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 110: 1520-1526.

Woodruff LBA, Pandhal J, Ow SY, Karimpour-Fard A, Weiss SJ, Wright PC and Gill RT. (2013) Genome-scale identification and characterization of ethanol tolerance genes in Escherichia coli, Metabolic Engineering, 15: 124-133.

Woodruff LBA and Gill RT. (2011) Engineering genomes in multiplex, Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 22: 576-583

Warner JR, Reeder PJ, Karimpour-Fard A, Woodruff LBA and Gill RT. (2010) Rapid profiling of a microbial genome using mixtures of barcoded oligonucleotides, Nature Biotechnology, 28: 856-862.

Andrews LB and Curtis WR. (2005) Comparison of transient protein expression in tobacco leaves and plant suspension culture, Biotechnology Progress, 21: 946-952.