Research Interests

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During my doctoral studies, I engineered Escherichia coli to co-translationally incorporate non-standard amino acids(nsAAs) into recombinant proteins. Expanding the genetic code to encode additional amino acids enables the incorporation of (a)biological groups into proteins such as biophysical probes, redox active groups, and natural post-translational modifications. This has the potential to transform how we synthesize materials and therapeutics, investigate protein structure, and understand the evolution of the translation system. nsAA incorporation efficiency still remains ~1000 fold lower than natural amino acid incorporation and high yielding strains for expression of these proteins are limited. I worked towards addressing these key limitations by (1) optimizing recombinant protein expression through promoter tuning efforts, (2) developing an improved strain for nsAA incorporation, and (3) performing co-evolution to all translational components collectively.


Perez JG, Carlson ED, Weisser O, Jewett MC. Improving genomically recoded organism for nsAA incorporation. Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution and Design Conference. Poster, July 15, 2016.

Perez JG. Engineering Life: Exploring Synthetic Biology with BioBuilder. STEM Summit at Argonne National Laboratory.Invited Speaker, June 15, 2016.

Perez JG. Expanding the building blocks of life to improve therapeutics. SACNAS Regional Conference. Invited Speaker,May 14th, 2016.

Martinez T and Perez JGEngineering Life: Exploring Synthetic Biology with BioBuilder. Biotechnology Center ofExcellence Biotechnology Symposium. Invited Speaker, May 2015.

Perez JG and Schoborg JA. Synthetic Biology: Expanding the Limits of Biology In and Out of the Cell. Biotechnology Center of Excellence Biotechnology Symposium. Invited Speaker, May 2014.


 Perez JG, Carlson ED, Weisser O and Jewett MC. Improving Genomically Recoded Escherichia coli for the Production of Proteins Containing Non-Standard Amino Acids. In preparation.

 Gan R, Perez JG, Carlson ED, Ntai I, Kelleher NL, and Jewett MC. Enhanced non-standard amino acid incorporation in Escherichia coli using evolved tRNA synthetase and Elongation factor Tu. Biotechnology and Bioengineering. Accepted with revisions.
 Perez JG, Stark JC, and Jewett MC. Cell-Free Synthetic Biology: Engineering Beyond the CellCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology (2016): a023853.
 Karpowicz P., Perez J., Perrimon N. Development. The Hippo tumor suppressor pathway regulates intestinal stem cell regeneration. 2010 Dec; 137(24):4135-45. doi: 10.1242/dev.060483.

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