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News and Events

2021 News and Events


  • Eliana Pena joined the lab as first year BMBB graduate student.
  • Anaya's and Sunyoung's review article on bacterial microcompartments accepted for publication in Current Opinions for Microbiology


  • Minju's and Claudia's reviews article on programmable materials for biocatalysis has been accepted and published as cover article in MDPI Catalysts 

January & February

  • Happy New Year 2021 - we are all hoping to get back to normal during this year
  • Spring semester has started - Zoom teaching continues....
  • No undergrads in the lab for this semester and summer

2020 News and Events


  • Our patent on Self-assembling protein scaffolds and methods has been published


  • October 19 - Moving to Step II of UMs Sunrise plan - 75% effort in the lab - getting more done while social distancing in plastic separated lab bays. Good that we have 2 large labs to spread out in.
  • Hiring freeze still in place


  • Fall semester has started and we are still in Phase I of the UMs Sunrise plan - 50% occupancy of the lab, trying to be productive while wet lab work is currently significantly impacted....
  • University-wide hiring freeze is also still in place

July & August

  • Claudia has participated and presented at two DoD virtual workshops on "Scope and strategy for Army Collaborative Center for Biological Engineering" &  "Biological Control Mechanisms for Materials" - matching our labs interests in the design of next generation biomaterials using approaches of synthetic biology.


  • May 15 - Sunrise Plan for slow opening of research labs implemented - first 25% of the lab can only work on site, starting in June 50% can work on site (Phase I)
  • Lab is practicing social distancing, plastic sheets separate benches to keep everyone 6 ft away, arrows to remind everyone of traffic flow.....



  • Everyone is staying at home and trying to keep busy...
  • GRC conference in Biocatalysis were Claudia was supposed to chair a session cancelled due to COVID-19


  • March 13 -  Lab is shut and goes into hibernation mode due to COVID-19 stay-at-home order
  • MECP conference on multistep-enzyme catalyzed processes in Aachen (Germany) were Claudia was invited to speak, cancelled due to COVID-19 and postponed to September 2021
  • Claudia traveled to Norway (UiO and NBMU) during the first week of March for the Norwegian Centennial Chair Program kick-off meeting


  • Happy New Year 2020!
  • Min-Ju Seo joined the lab as postdoctoral fellow to work on the design of new biocatalytic materials and systems.
  • Claudia hosted a German Feuerzangenbowle for the lab.


2019 News and Events




  • Claudia gave a lecture at the Terpnet meeting on  "Exploring the sesquiterpenoid biosynthetic space in Basidiomycota"
  • Kelly Wallin and Claudia instructed a lab module on synthetic biology tools at the UMN Itasca Biological Research Station


  • Ruijie Zhang joins the lab as postdoctoral fellow to work on strain engineering and engineering of new types of biocatalytic materials
  • Claudia gave a lecture "Functional Biomaterials for Biocatalysis" at the annual SIMB meeting in Wahsington DC
  • Claudia gave a key note lecture "From Biosynthesis to Functional Biomaterials" at the 2019 BioTrans meeting in Groningen, NL.
  • Guoqiang Zhang's and Timothy Johnston's manuscript "Developing a protein scaffolding system for rapid enzyme immobilization and optimization of enzyme functions for biocatalysis" published in ACS Synth. Biol. (


  • Claudia, Co-PI Al Aksan and postdoc Sunyoung Kang presented research results at the DARPA Engineered Living Materials PI meeting


  • Timothy Johnston graduated and will begin his Postbaccalaureate training at the NIH
  • Azion White received MSROP and UROP fellowships to conduct summer research under the guidance of Francois
  • Grayson Wawrzyn, 13' PhD Lab alum, returned to campus as invited speaker at the NIH Chemical Biology Training Grant Symposium


  • Two new team members will be joining the lab
  • Funding of a new project on engineering living materials for biocatalysis together with the Wackett and Aksan groups


  • Sarah Bloch, '14 PhD Lab alum, was featured in a CBS Blog
  • Anaya Pokhrel joins the lab as postdoctoral fellow. He will be working on strain engineering tasks.
  • Research Assistant Professor Maureen Quin leaves the lab to begin a new journey in industry as Senior Development Scientist at Beckman Coulter.
  • New postdoc ads have been posted - we are looking for 2-3 new postdoc for several new synthetic biology projects in the area of programmable functional protein nanomaterials


  • Postdoc Seung-oh Seoh (SOS) starts his faculty position as Assistant Professor at the Catholic University in Seol, Korea.
  • Sara Bratsch joins our team as postdoctoral fellow to work on biomaterials and strain engineering. 
  • Methods Enzymology Volume on Supramolecular Assemblies and Metabolons edited by Claudia and Maureen is published.
  • "A path less taken" - the Schmidt-Dannert lab received philantropic funding for the desing of innovative, genetically programmable materials
  • Postdoc Guoqiang Zhang arrives at Jiangnan University to start his new position as Associate Professor.
  • Claudia's and Fernando Lopez-Gallego's review on "Advances and opportunities for the design of self-sufficient and spatially organized cell-free biocatalytic systems" in Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol. In Press.
  • Chris Flynn's manuscript on the characterization of the Fusarium terpenome accepted for publication in Fungal Biology.