Our vision at


The Sustainable & Synthetic Biotechnology research group (SSB) was founded to explore resource-efficient biotechnological processes with microorganisms and alternative crops. Among the key research topics in this group are biotechnology with photosynthetic microbes (macroalgae, microalgae, and cyanobacteria) and bio-process design with these hosts. Nature has given us an array of phenotypic microbial diversity which can be tapped for human use applications. These natural features can be enhanced through the use of the techniques collectively called synthetic biology, engineering the cellular system to build synthetic organisms capable of specialized metabolism. Engineering photosynthetic organisms can power biotechnological processes with sun-light, while simultaneously consuming waste carbon products, especially CO2. The SSB group operates its research in a gene to product mentality, wherein laboratory engineering is conducted with industrial scalability in mind. Through the application of gene editing (CRISPR/Cas), metabolic engineering, and bio-process design, we can use biological systems for resource-efficient processes aimed at many goals including carbon capture, food generation, materials science, and environmental mitigation.


“Our team is interested in promoting biotechnology applications which endeavor to be sustainable in scope, whether converting waste carbon streams like CO2 into products through algae, solar energy conversion into biomass, or the use of alternative carbon substrates as feedstocks for bio-processes.”


Kyle J. Lauersen

Principal Investigator