Using light, researchers coax bacteria and yeast to cooperate in producing chemicals
Strains of microbes like yeast and E. coli can be engineered to produce useful chemicals and fuels, and can produce more fuel more efficiently by working together. The problem is that when grown together in co-cultures, the fastest-growing strain often outcompetes the others, causing the community to break down and stop chemical production. Now, Princeton researchers have discovered a new way to stabilize co-cultures of microbes using light. By engineering the faster-growing strain to respond to light, the researchers can control its growth using light pulses, stabilizing the community as a whole and optimizing it for chemical production.
Tiny bubbles help create soft robotics
Princeton researchers have invented bubble casting, a new way to make soft robots using "fancy balloons" that change shape in predictable ways when inflated with air.
Fractured artificial rock helps crack a 54-year-old mystery
Princeton researchers have solved a 54-year-old puzzle about why certain fluids strangely slow down under pressure when flowing through porous materials, such as soils and sedimentary rocks. The findings could help improve many important processes in energy, environmental, and industrial sectors from oil recovery to groundwater remediation.
Inaugural award, spurred by new endowment, recognizes outstanding teaching from graduate students
The Jui Dasgupta Outstanding AI Award for the 2020-2021 academic year went to Nicholas Caggiano, Drew Carson and Madeleine Chalifoux.
Plant microbiome expert Jonathan Conway joins Princeton, bringing key insights into engineering "non-model" bacteria
Jonathan Conway, an expert in plant-microbe interactions, has joined the Princeton faculty as an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering.
Theory of bubbles lifts cell biology into a new, more quantitative era
A study published Sep. 22 in Nature details how an established physics theory governing bubble and droplet formation led to a new understanding of the principles organizing the contents of living cells. The work marks a seismic shift in researchers' ability both to understand and control the complex soft materials within our cells.
Princeton faculty lead DOE effort to reduce plastic waste
The Department of Energy has awarded funding to a team of Princeton chemists and engineers as part of its investment in technological solutions to reduce plastic waste. The team includes four CBE faculty members, who received funding for a project that seeks to expand foundational research on a polymer discovered earlier this year.
New platform speeds up effort to turn crops into fuel
Princeton researchers have developed a new way to make fuel from cellulose—Earth's most abundant organic compound, found in all plant cells—speeding up a notoriously slow chemical process and in some cases doubling energy yields over comparable methods.
Researchers invent world's smallest biomechanical linkage
Researchers at Princeton University have built the world's smallest mechanically interlocked biological structure, a deceptively simple two-ring chain made from tiny strands of amino acids called peptides. A paper published August 23 in Nature Chemistry detailed a library of such structures made in their lab—two interlocked rings, a ring on a dumbbell, a daisy chain and an interlocked double lasso.
New regional Princeton-led innovation hub to accelerate tech, enhance diversity in entrepreneurship
Princeton University will lead a new multi-university National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) hub to foster entrepreneurial startups based on fundamental research in science and engineering, while broadening opportunities for groups underrepresented in entrepreneurship. NSF will dedicate $15 million to establish the I-Corps Northeast Hub, which will include partners Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and the University of Delaware as well as regional affiliate universities.