Carothers Research Group

RNA synthetic biology and metabolic engineering

The Carothers Research Group combines CRISPR technology development with computational modeling and RNA aptamer biosensor engineering for applications in synthetic biology.  The main goals are to investigate biological design principles and to engineer biology to provide new sources of high-value chemicals and materials.

About James

James Carothers is the Interim Chair and Charles W.H. Matthaei Endowed Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington.  He is also the Co-Director of the UW Center for Synthetic Biology, a member of the Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute and has an Adjunct appointment in the Department of Bioengineering. 

Since joining the UW faculty in 2012, Carothers has been the lead PI of >$22M of funded research out of >$30M as PI or Co-PI. He is currently the lead PI of a $15M U.S. Department of Energy project to advance CRISPR gene regulation technologies and engineer microbes for improved chemical bioproduction. Recent work has been supported by multiple awards from the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and private industry. The Carothers group has a network of close collaborators at UW, other universities and national laboratories. At the UW, the Carothers group interacts extensively with the Zalatan group in the Department of Chemistry. 

Previously, Carothers was a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist with Jay D. Keasling at UC Berkeley and the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute.  James was a graduate student at Harvard, where he earned a Ph.D. with Jack W. Szostak.  James has a B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale.  He has received the University of Washington Presidential Innovation Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship.  

Outside the lab, Carothers was a fellow of the Silicon Valley Startup Leadership Program (SLP), is a founding member of the Wayfinder Biosciences Scientific Advisory Board,  and enjoys Seattle's museums, backpacking, snowboarding, mountain biking, and spending time with his family.