Leveraging Synthetic Biology in Biorenewables

The advent of synthetic biology has revolutionized our ability to discover and construct new biosynthetic pathways and engineer platform organisms or so called microbial factories to produce a wide variety of value-added products. Our laboratory focuses on engineering individual microorganisms as well as microbial consortia to address critical issues in energy sustainability and chemical production.


  • Welcome Ian and Yutong

    Aug 20, 2014
    Ian and Yutong are CBE junior students and feel very interested in Biorenewables research.
  • Summer REU program

    Aug 01, 2014
    Nam Nguyen (from Des Moines Area Community College, BioMaP REU) and Elaine Butler (from Grand View University, CBiRC REU) did excellent jobs on their REU projects in Shao group mentored by Miguel and Lili. Nam and Elaine will apply for graduate schools after getting their B. S. degrees.
  • EPSCoR-Ames summer enrichment program

    July 16, 2014
    The program involved elementary-aged children in achieving a perspective to appreciate STEM fields through hands-on interactive experiments. A “Bacteria Club” was designed with the assistance of Korey and Laurel. Students had the opportunity to be directly involved in culturing bacteria on nutrient agar plates and perform experiments to evaluate bacterial resistance to various antibiotics.
  • Welcome Wan

    June 01, 2014
    Wan is currently a visiting student from Peking Union Medical College, working with Professor Zhaoyong Yang. She will spend one year in ISU working on a collaboration project on natural products.
  • Funding support from IEC

    Feb 28, 2014
    The group received a funding support from Iowa Energy Center opportunity grant for non-conventional yeast study.
  • Funding support from CBiRC IAB

    Feb 28, 2014
    The group received a funding support from CBiRC Industry Advisory Board for fatty acid sensor development.
  • Welcome Lili

    Jan 16, 2014
    Lili received her B.S. from University College Cork in 2008 and her M. S. from University College London in 2010. After working in industry for a few years, Lili decided to pursue her Ph.D. in ISU.
  • Welcome Meirong

    Nov 01, 2013
    Meirong received her B.S. from Xiamen University in 2010 and her M. S. from Shandong University in 2013. She is a CBE PhD candidate, co-advised by Prof. Shanks and Shao.
  • Welcome Le

    Sep 01, 2013
    Le received her B.S. from Tsinghua University in 2011. She is a CBE PhD candidate, co-advised by Prof. Shanks and Shao.
  • Welcome Laurel and Korey

    July 01, 2013
    Laurel and Korey are CBE senior students and feel very interested in Biorenewables research.
  • Funding support from PSI

    Mar 16, 2013
    The group received a funding support from ISU Plant Sciences Institute Biochemical Separations Initiative (Collaborate with Cochran Group and Wang Group, 2013-2016).
  • Welcome Mingfeng

    Mar 01, 2013
    Mingfeng received his Ph.D. from Nankai University in 2011. After graduation, he worked as a research scientist in Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology prior to joining our group as a postdoctoral research fellow.
  • Welcome Miguel

    Jan 01, 2013
    Miguel received his B.S. from Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in 2012. He came to Iowa State in the Fall of 2012 and is currently a CBE PhD candidate.
  • This news is older

    January 01, 2013
    Dr. Zengyi Shao joined Iowa State University, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) as an assistant professor. She is also affiliated with the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) and Interdepartmental Microbiology Program.