Michael C. Jewett, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2020
For outstanding contributions to develop cell-free synthetic biology and repurpose translation for on-demand biomanufacturing, portable diagnostics, and education kits.

Low-Cost, Thermostable CFPS Biomanufacturing Platform Obviates Cold Chain

Via Genetic Engineering News | January 18, 2023

An inexpensive, thermostable, cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) platform for decentralized vaccine production has been developed by a team of researchers from Northwestern University and Cornell University. In experiments, this lyophilized in vitro vaccine expression (iVAX) system lowered the cost of cell-free expression reactions to less than $0.50 per dose when formulations were stored at 37°C, and less than $1 per dose when stored at temperatures as high as 50°C. Cold-chain distribution, therefore, is unnecessary for hot environments.

Because glycosylated products now can be produced in a lyophilized CFPS system, “This creates opportunities to target many diseases and manufacture medicines for deployment in resource-limited settings that current economics simply do not allow,” Michael C. Jewett, PhD, professor of bioengineering at Stanford University (and adjunct professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern) and corresponding author on a recent paper, tells GEN… Continue reading.


One-step diagnostic tool receives NSF RAPID grant

Via Northwestern University | April 20, 2020

Northwestern University synthetic biologists have received funding to develop an easy-to-use, quick-screen technology that can test for infectious diseases, including COVID-19, in the human body or within the environment.

Similar to a pregnancy test, the tool uses one sample to provide an easy-to-read negative or positive result. By simplifying testing, the researchers could put diagnostics into the hands of people everywhere — without the need for expensive laboratories or expertise. This could provide the large-scale testing required for ending stay-at-home orders, reopening the economy or preparing for a predicted virus resurgence in the fall… Continue reading.


Chafing Against Regulation, Silicon Valley Pivots to Pandemic

Via Wired | April 15, 2020

Early in the evening on March 19, the prominent Silicon Valley investor and serial entrepreneur Balaji Srinivasan kicked off a tweet storm with a techno-libertarian call to arms:

“To all biotech & tech people: The Manhattan Project for the virus is going to end up being the Palo Alto Project. It’s on us. The state doesn’t have tech talent anymore. Can’t fix that overnight. But we can get them to legalize biomedical innovation with expanded right-to-try.”

Srinivasan did not respond to WIRED’S request for comment, but a subsequent tweet clarified that he was using the term Palo Alto Project to encapsulate the world of venture-backed “tech/biotech” companies that he envisions mobilizing to solve the mysteries of Covid-19 with the same awesome resolve with which J. Robert Oppenheimer and company cracked the atom… Continue reading.


Cell-free Biotechnology Could Help Accelerate COVID-19 Therapeutics

Via Northwestern University | April 2, 2020

When it comes to fighting a fast-spreading pandemic, speed is critical.

Researchers at Northwestern Engineering and Cornell University have developed a new platform that could produce new therapies more than 10 times faster than current methods. The secret behind the platform’s unmatched speed is an unlikely tool: bacteria.

After taking the molecular machinery out of bacteria, the researchers then use that machinery to make a product, such as therapeutics, in a safe, inexpensive, and rapid manner. The idea is akin to opening the hood of a car and removing the engine, which allows researchers to use the engine for different purposes, free from the constraints of the car… Continue reading.


Dr. Michael Jewett Inducted into AIMBE College of Fellows

Via AIMBE | March 30, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the induction of Michael C. Jewett, Ph.D., Walter P. Murphy Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University, Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, and Director of Center for Synthetic Biology, Northwestern University, to its College of Fellows.

Election to the AIMBE College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a medical and biological engineer. The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers. College membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering and medicine research, practice, or education” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of medical and biological engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to bioengineering education.”

Dr. Jewett was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows for “outstanding contributions to develop cell-free synthetic biology and repurpose translation for on-demand biomanufacturing, portable diagnostics, and education kits.