Ben W. Thuronyi

Ben W. Thuronyi

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

413-597-4417
Hopper Science Center Rm 128
At Williams since 2019

Pronouns: they/them

Lab: Hopper Science Building Rm 010, x2204

Education

B.A. Swarthmore College (2007)
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, Chemistry (2015)

Areas of Expertise

All living things contain incredibly sophisticated biotechnology, built from chemical parts that evolved over millions of years to make organisms grow and reproduce more efficiently. Researchers are starting to take advantage of that evolved technology like never before, reprogramming cells and creating new biomolecular functions in an interdisciplinary field called synthetic biology. Synthetic biologists have created cells that produce chemicals, biomaterials, and therapeutics, carry out computation, and even direct evolution toward researcher goals. In the Thuronyi lab, we are building synthetic biology tools for a promising but underdeveloped bacterium, Vibrio natriegens, that is among the fastest growing known organisms. We are establishing new methods for directed evolution of biomolecules in V. natriegens that can effectively harness its entire genomic repertoire. We aim to use natural transformation, a process in which V. natriegens takes up DNA from its environment and incorporates it into the cell, to make directed evolution faster and more efficient. Synthetic biology draws on skills across disciplines and relies on the design-build-test-learn cycle of engineering. Many of our experiments involve creating DNA constructs using computer-aided design, assembling and inserting them into bacteria with molecular biology techniques, and probing their performance with analytical chemistry and microbiology methods. Find out more at the Thuronyi Lab website.

Courses