Microbial Evolution: Opportunities and Challenges

Microbial Evolution: Opportunities and Challenges



Biological systems are complex, and we currently lack a full understanding of the rules of life, which limits our ability to design strains for biomanufacturing and to develop drugs. Nature can help to fill in the gaps. The process of evolution involves the selection of mutants that are fitter in their environment. Thus, if the desired properties can be coupled with cell growth or survival, evolution can be a tool for strain engineering and provide a knowledge base. The process of evolution is also important in diseases; antibiotic drug resistance, cancer, and the emergence of COVID-19 variants are all processes of adaptation and evolution.

About the Author

Katy Kao is a Professor in the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department. Prior to joining SJSU, she was an Associate Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department at Texas A&M University. She received a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from UC Irvine, a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from UCLA, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. Her work focuses on understanding microbial adaptation for strain development and biofilm formation and drug resistance in human fungal pathogens. She was awarded the National Research Service Award by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and several college-level awards.

Date of Event

Spring 5-1-2024


Biochemical and Biomolecular Engineering | Biological Engineering | Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering

Microbial Evolution: Opportunities and Challenges