Ting Lu

Ting Lu
Associate Professor
(217) 333-4627
3114 Everitt Lab

Research Topics

  • Computational and Systems Biology
  • Synthetic Bioengineering


  • Ph.D. in Biophysics, University of California at San Diego (2007)
  • B.S. in Physics, Zhejiang University (2002)

For more information

Research Topics

  • Computational and Systems Biology
  • Synthetic Bioengineering

Research Interests

  • Synthetic Biology, Systems Biology, and Quantitative Biology

Research Statement

Gene regulatory networks are one of the main cellular infrastructures that confer defined biological functions. Our research focuses on synthetic and systems biology - the analysis, construction, and exploitation of these regulatory networks for cellular functionality programming. This is an interdisciplinary research area that spans the boundary between biology, engineering, and physics. Specifically, we are interested in understanding the architecture and dynamics of naturally existing networks, primarily those in bacteria, and exploring their relationship to cellular function. One interesting example is bacterial communication networks and their roles in enabling cellular collective behaviors. In parallel, we are interested in engineering gene circuits for biomedical applications by assembling and editing genes and genomes inside living cells, very much like building integrated circuits with transistors and other elements for a computer. Along that line, microbiota reengineering is very attractive to us because of its potential for therapeutic interventions. To pursue our interest, we have adopted E. coli and other bacteria as our model organisms, and have also employed an integrated experimental and computational approach. Experimental techniques from molecular biology and theoretical tools from nonlinear dynamics and statistical mechanics are extensively used in our research. Our long-term goal is to uncover nature's design principles of gene regulatory networks and to apply these principles to engineer novel circuits for biomedical applications.

Selected Articles in Journals

  • F. Liu, J. Mao, W. Kong, Q. Hua, Y. Feng, R. Bashir and T. Lu, Interaction variability shapes succession of synthetic microbial ecosystems, Nature Communications, in press (2019).
  • V. Celik, W. Kong, A. Blanchard, F. Liu, and T. Lu, Spatial interference scale as a determinent of microbial range expansion, Science Advances 4: eaau0695 (2018).
  • W. Kong, D. Meldgin, J. Collins, and T. Lu, Designing microbial consortia with defined social interactions, Nature Chemical Biology 14: 821–829 (2018).
  • C. Liao, A. Blanchard, and T. Lu, An integrative circuit-host modeling framework for predicting synthetic gene network behaviors, Nature Microbiology 2: 1658–1666 (2017).
  • W. Kong, A. Blanchard, C. Liao, and T. Lu, Engineering robust and tunable spatial structures with synthetic gene circuits, Nucleic Acids Research 45: 1005-1014 (2016)
  • W. Kong, K. Kapuganti, and T. Lu, A gene network engineering platform for lactic acid bacteria, Nucleic Acid Research 44: e37 (2015)
  • C. Liao, S. Seo, V. Celik, H. Liu, W. Kong, Y. Wang, H. Blaschek, Y. Jin, and T. Lu, Integrated, systems metabolic picture of acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation by clostridium acetobutylicum, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 112: 8505–8510 (2015)
  • H. Liu and T. Lu, Autonomous production of 1,4-butanediol via a de novo biosynthesis pathway in engineered escherichia coli, Metabolic Engineering 29: 135-141 (2014)
  • W. Fu, A. Ergun*, T. Lu*, J. Hill, S. Haxhinasto, M. Fassett, R. Gazit, S. Adoro, L. Glimcher, S. Chan, P. Kastner, D. Rossi, J. Collins, D. Mathis, C. Benoist, A multiply redundant genetic switch locks in the transcriptional signature of Treg cells, Nature Immunology 13: 972-980 (2012). (*Equal contribution)
  • W. Ruder*, T. Lu*, and J. Collins, Synthetic biology moving into the clinic, Science 333: 1248-1252 (2011). (*Equal contribution)

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