Albert J. Keung joined NC State in January 2016 as a Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program cluster hire in Synthetic and Systems Biology. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering whose work spans the intersections of synthetic biology, chromatin biology and stem cell biology. His research focuses on non-genetic sources of information in cells and how they can be synthetically controlled and harnessed for biomedical and biotechnology applications. His research group studies the properties of chromatin, a complex of proteins and RNA that is bound to the genome and regulates how genes are expressed. Chromatin is vital for most cellular processes, and its improper regulation contributes to many diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease. Group members are developing new molecular tools to interrogate chromatin mechanisms, and to synthetically harness chromatin to engineer cancer-killing cells, produce useful chemicals and regenerate mammalian tissues.
Previously, Keung was an National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow working at MIT and Boston University. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley as a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate and National Science Foundation Fellow, and earned his bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Stanford University.