Huimin Zhao

 Huimin Zhao

Contact Information

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University of Illinois
215 RAL, Box C-3
600 S. Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
Affiliate Faculty

Additional Campus Affiliations


Dr. Huimin Zhao is the Steven L. Miller Chair Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and professor of chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, and bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He received his B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1992 and his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1998 under the guidance of Nobel laureate Frances Arnold. Prior to joining UIUC in 2000, he was a project leader at the Industrial Biotechnology Laboratory of the Dow Chemical Company. He was promoted to full professor in 2008. Dr. Zhao has authored and co-authored over 340 research articles and over 30 issued and pending patent applications with several being licensed by industry. In addition, he has given plenary, keynote or invited lectures in over 390 international meetings, universities, industries, and research institutes.

Research Interests

  • Synthetic biology; biocatalysis; natural product biosynthesis; protein engineering; metabolic engineering; genome engineering; directed evolution

Research Description

Zhao laboratory develops and applies synthetic biology approaches to engineer functionally improved or novel proteins, pathways, and genomes. In parallel, Zhao laboratory investigates the protein structure-function relationship, cell metabolism, and mechanisms of gene expression and regulation. Our current research program centers on four distinct yet related areas, including foundational tool development, drug discovery and development, industrial biotechnology, and mammalian synthetic biology.