Systems Theory and Automatic Control

Systems and Control Seminars for the Summer Semester 2013

Retrofitting complex cellular systems for the production of biofuels and biochemicals: It would bnice to have an oracle


Vassily Hatzimanikatis
Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Time and Place

The presentation will be given on June 21, 2013 at 10.00 a.m. in building 07, room 208.


The engineering of cells for the production of fuels and chemicals involves simultaneous optimization of multiple objectives, such as specific productivity, extended substrate range and improved tolerance - all under a great degree of uncertainty. The achieve- ment of these objectives under physiological and process constraints will be impossible without the use of mathematical modeling. However, the limited information and the uncertainty in the available information require new methods for modeling and simula- tion that will characterize the uncertainty and will quantify, in a statistical sense, the expectations of success of alternative metabolic engineering strategies. We discuss these considerations around the development of BNICE and ORACLE, two frameworks for the design and optimization of complex cellular systems.

Information about the Speaker

Dr. Vassily Hatzimanikatis is currently Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). Vassily received a PhD and a MS in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, and his Diploma in Chemical Engineering from the University of Patras, in Greece. After the completion of his doctoral studies, he held a research group leader position at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. Prior to joining Northwestern, Vassily worked for three years in DuPont, Cargill, and Cargill Dow, on the development of biocatalysts for the production of industrial chemicals, and for six years as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Vassily's research interests are in the areas of systems biotechnology, bioinformatics, and complexity of biological systems. He is associate editor of the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering, and associate editor for Bioinformatics of the journal Metabolic Engineering. He serves on the editorial advisory board of the journals Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering and Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology. He has published over 40 technical articles and he is co-inventor in two patents.

Vassily was a DuPont Young Professor (2001-2004) and he received the Jay Bailey Young Investigator Best Paper Award in Metabolic Engineering in 2002. While at Northwestern University he received the Teacher of the Year Award from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 2004. He is currently a member of the Executive Committee of SystemsX, the Swiss Initiative in Systems Biology.

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