The Ellington Lab conducts research in synthetic biology, protein engineering, and DNA nanotechnology at the University of Texas at Austin. 


Throughout its existence, the Ellington Lab has generated impactful new technologies and approaches.  Currently, we are working in several different areas, including: 

  • Developing novel genetic codes and synthetic organisms based on engineering the translation apparatus.  Most recently, post-doctoral fellow Ross Thyer has generated a seleno-Coli capable of making proteins with diselenide bonds (Thyer et al. (2018), Nature Biotechnology, 36:624).

  • Developing novel point-of-care diagnostics based on isothermal amplification and DNA computation.  Most recently, assistant research professor Sanchita Bhadra has developed an assay for typing mosquitoes in the field, with concomitant implications for surveying for Zika and other arthropod-borne diseases (Bhadra et al. (2018), PLoS Neglected and Tropical Diseases, 12:e0006771).

  • Developing new methods for scalable assembly of protein architectures and programmed biomaterials.  Most recently, post-doctoral fellow Anna Simon has generated novel protein architectures based on combining supercharged proteins (Simon et al. (2018), bioRxiv,

To best way to experience the range of innovative projects we carry out is to come by and check us out.  We have an extremely interdisciplinary atmosphere, love to collaborate, and have never met a technology we didn’t like.  We’re in the heart of Texas; are fronted by the Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology, which is filled with like-minded PIs and researchers; maintain our own Gene Synthesis Facility capable of producing 10 kb constructs on demand; and boast a technical staff that keeps everything going supremely well.

Drawing inspiration from the words of our alma mater, Microsoft, and journalist Hunter Thompson, we aim to ride this strange torpedo of science to the end of the known world, and beyond.

Here, there be dragons.