Welcome to Koo Research Group

The goal of our research is to develop technological solutions for global problems related to sustainability and health care. Specifically, we design and engineer biochemical systems that harness biological activities (adsorption, assembly, and catalysis) in the most translational manner. There are myriad of organisms and sub-cellular components that can conduct these desirable activities with supreme effectiveness and accuracy. For example, enzymes are well known to catalyze reactions with efficiencies and specificities that are typically orders of magnitude higher than those observed with manmade catalysts. More importantly, these activities are often performed at room temperature and pressure which make them energetically inexpensive.

The supreme performance of natural biological systems come at the expense of limited scalability and durability. However, the advancement in genetic and metabolic engineering techniques have enabled mankind to employ biological activities in large scale. Fermentative production of pharmaceuticals is the most successful example that has transformed the healthcare industry. We believe that the same can be true for the energy industry, for example, where there is the impending, global need to make fuel production, use, and storage more sustainable. By employing the emerging, innovative techniques including protein design, cell-free systems, and artificial intelligence, I plan to develop translational solutions for the contemporary problems.