Nanette Boyle

Associate Professor, Coors Developmental Chair, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Nanette BoyleRecent reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have indicated that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached a new high (400 ppm) and continue on an upward trend. This, coupled with fluctuations in the price and supply of fossil fuels, highlight a need to develop more sustainable sources of energy as well as chemical feedstocks typically derived from petroleum products. Solar power, as the main source of energy on Earth, is the logical first step in the search for alternative energies. Photosynthetic organisms, such as cyanobacteria, algae and plants, have evolved over thousands of years to efficiently harvest solar energy and use that energy to convert carbon dioxide into complex molecules (starch, proteins, lipids, secondary metabolites, etc). With advances in synthetic biology and metabolic engineering, we now have the ability to direct carbon flux to metabolites that can serve as fuels, feedstocks and fine chemicals.

The main goal of our research group is to use genome engineering approaches (synthetic biology, systems biology, and metabolic engineering) to design photosynthetic organisms capable of producing fuels, feedstocks, and fine chemicals in a sustainable way. We focus on i) developing larger and more sophisticated molecular toolkits for cyanobacteria and optimizing those tools to ensure high recombineering efficiencies, ii) using genome-wide engineering techniques to identify genes which increase performance of cyanobacteria under stress conditions (salt, nutrient limitation, high/low light, etc) and iii) designing production strains capable of using CO2 and sunlight to produce molecules of interest.


423 Alderson Hall
1613 Illinois Street
Golden, CO 80401
(303) 384-2024


Research Group

  • Sandra Gomez Romero
  • Michelle Meagher, Montana State University – Bozeman
  • Alexander Metcalf, Rice University
  • Cara Sake, Auburn University
  • Samantha Siska
  • Jacob Tamburro

Boyle Research Group Website


  • BS – Arizona State University
  • PhD – Purdue University
  • Post-Doctoral Study – University of California, Los Angeles and University of Colorado, Boulder


  • NR Boyle, TS Reynolds, R Evans, M Lynch, and RT Gill. Recombineering to Homogeneity: Extension of Multiplex Recombineering to Large-Scale Genome Editing. Biotechnology Journal. 2013, 8(5) p: 515-522.
  • LBA Woodruff, NR Boyle, RT Gill. A directed, genome-wide approach to select for improved ethanol production in a heterologous Escherichia coli production platform. Metabolic Engineering. 2013, 17(0) p: 1-11.
  • NR Boyle, RT Gill. Tools for Genome-Wide Strain Design and Construction. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 2012, 23(5) p: 666-671.
  • NR Boyle, MLD Page, B Liu, IK Blaby, J Kropat, S Cokus, S Karpowicz, D Casero, J Shaw, A Hong-Hermesdorf, S Johnson, C Benning,M Pellegrini, A Grossman, S Merchant. Three acyltransferases and a nitrogen responsive regulator are implicated in nitrogen starvation-induced triacylglycerol accumulation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2012, 287(19) p: 15811-15825.
  • NR Boyle,  JA Morgan. Computation of Metabolic Fluxes and Efficiencies for Biological Carbon Dioxide Fixation. Metabolic Engineering. 2011, 13(2) p: 150-158.
  • NR Boyle, JA Morgan. Flux balance analysis of primary metabolism in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. BMC Systems Biology. 2009, 3(1):4. [Highly Accessed]

Google Scholar Citations Page

Honors and Awards

  • 2018 U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Research Award