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Timothy K. Lu, M.D., Ph.D.

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Assistant Professor

Room E17-438
(617) 715-4808 (phone)


S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003
M.Eng., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010
M.D., Harvard Medical School, 2010

Research Summary

My research centers on synthetic biology with the ultimate goal of applying synthetic circuits and organisms to real-world medical and industrial applications such as infectious diseases, cancer, and biofuels. Currently, I am developing novel synthetic gene circuits with increasing complexity, such as biological memory and counters. In addition, I have engineered bacteriophage and antimicrobial peptides to treat intractable infections caused by bacterial biofilms and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I am actively working to translate these treatments into clinical settings against pathogens such as Clostridium difficile and Staphylococcus aureus.

Selected Publications

  • T. K. Lu, A. S. Khalil, and J. J. Collins, “Next-Generation Synthetic Gene Networks,” Nature Biotechnology, vol. 27, no. 12, pp. 1139-1150, December 7, 2009.  (
  • T. K. Lu*, A. E. Friedland*, X. Wang, D. Shi, G. M. Church, and J. J. Collins, “Synthetic Gene Networks that Count,” Science, vol. 324, no. 5931, pp. 1199-1202, May 29, 2009.  (
  • T. K. Lu and J. J. Collins, “Engineered Bacteriophage Targeting Gene Networks as Adjuvants for Antibiotic Therapy,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 106, no. 12, pp. 4629-4634, March 24, 2009.  (
  • T. K. Lu and J. J. Collins, “Dispersing Biofilms with Engineered Enzymatic Bacteriophage,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 104, no. 27, pp. 11197-11202, July 3, 2007.  (

Last Updated: June 23, 2010