Dr. Tekel is Principal Scientist and leads Zea2 Biosciences research efforts by designing and executing experiments to for strain selection and improvement.
Stefan's expertise in synthetic biology spans protein and genomic engineering, protein library design, directed evolution, and cultivation of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms.
During his time at the School of Biological and Health System Engineering he focused on engineering synthetic epigenetic histone binding proteins to modulate gene expression in cells. Further research also focused on engineering orthogonal bacterial communication systems via homoserine lactone-based quorum sensing and also developed a novel technology for high throughput CRISPR-based engineering of stem cells.
Stefan earned his Ph.D. in Biological Design at Arizona State University and his B.S. in Biotechnology from James Madison University.
How WE Can Help You
Contract research can accelerate development of a host strain to produce a novel target compound. Development follows a stage-gate process to minimize cost. An example project is described below.
Stage 1: Construct design and cloning
Improving the strain can begin with in silico design of pathway enzymes with optimized parts specific for chosen host organism. Successful completion of this stage includes a library of fully sequenced and annotated constructs containing pathway genes for episomal and/or chromosomal expression.
Stage 2: Pathway expression and optimization
With sufficient progress, development advances to heterologous testing of expression of pathway enzymes in the host organism. Successful completion of this stage is defined by production of the target compound in host chassis.
Stage 3: Bioreactor scaleup
After achieving target metrics, improved strains are moved to a 1L bioreactor for scaleup. Compounds are produced using axenic conditions with high oxygen and ample mixing to allow performance extrapolation to larger scales. Production will be analyzed with appropriate equipment including HPLC, GCMS and others. Minor culture modifications can be introduced and tested as needed. Successful completion of this stage will be defined by replicated titers during successive bioreactor runs.