For all you VCU undergrads out there, SustainLab is starting in Spring 2017! SustainLab will be part of the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program ( and will focus on identifying, developing, and implementing multi-disciplinary designs to address current problems that negatively affect urban quality of life. The first focus will be on designing and implementing Green Walls in Richmond to address carbon sequestration. This project will be completed in collaboration with faculty and students from Art and Biology.

INFORMS manuscript accepted

Our collaborative study title "Enumeration and Cartesian Product Decomposition of Alternate Optimal Fluxes in Cellular Metabolism" has been accepted for publication in INFORMS Journal on Computing.

Congrats to Eric Newsome!

Eric Newsome's abstract titled "Prototype of a Smart Fabric for Detection and Degradation of Organophosphate-based Neurotoxins" has been accepted for a poster presentation at the 2016 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) Conference.

AEM Cover!

Thanks to everyone who voted for our picture of Endobugula to be on the cover of Applied and Environmental Microbiology! We won the online vote and will be featured as the cover picture on an upcoming AEM journal!

Scientific Reports manuscript accepted

Our collaborative manuscript titled "Single sample resolution of rare microbial dark matter in a marine invertebrate metagenome" has been accepted for publication in Scientific Reports.

Applied and Environmental Microbiology manuscript accepted

Our collaborative manuscript titled: Lack of overt genome reduction in the bryostatin-producing bryozoan symbiont, "Candidatus Endobugula sertula" has been accepted for publication.

Eric Newsome's Poster

Eric Newsome presented his 2nd year poster as part of the VCU Bridges to Baccalaureate program. Congrats Eric!

Image of Dr. Fong and Eric Newsome Poster

Lab featured in a Richmond Times-Dispatch Article

Dr. Fong Article Image

We are featured in a Richmond Times-Dispatch article!

Read the article on their website.

Talk at IBE Annual Conference

Qiang Yan recently gave a talk at the IBE Annual Conference titled "Metabolic engineering of Serratia marcescens for direct bioconversion of chitin to N-acetylneuraminic acid." Great job!

Qiang Yan passed Departmental Qualifier

Congratulations to Qiang Yan for passing the CLSE Departmental Qualifying Exam!

Trends in Biotechnology manuscript accepted

Our collaborative review titled "Metabolic burden: cornerstones in synthetic biology and metabolic engineering applications" has been accepted for publication in Trends in Biotechnology.

Governor's Agriculture & Industrial Biotechnology Conference

Dr. Fong will be giving two talks at the upcoming Governor's Agriculture & Industrial Biotechnology Conference (

Paper in Molecular Systems Biology accepted

A collaborative paper titled "Do Genome-scale Models Need Exact Solvers or Clearer Standards?" has been accepted for publication in Molecular Systems Biology.

Paper published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

Our paper titled "Systematic analysis of intracellular mechanisms of propanol production in the engineered Thermobifida fusca B6 strain" has been published at Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Congratulations to Dr. Adam Fisher!

Adam Fisher successfully defended his doctoral dissertation yesterday! Congratulations Dr. Fisher!

Image of Dr. Fisher

Metabolic engineering review accepted

Our review paper titled "Integrative metabolic engineering" authored by George McArthur, Pooja Nanjannavar, and Emily Miller has been accepted for publication at AIMS Bioengineering.

Collaborative VCU PeRQ project on smart fabrics with Dr. Tang funded

A collaborative research project with Dr. Christina Tang in our department has been funded. There's a short write-up posted on VCU's website here.

Chitinase review accepted for publication

Qiang Yan's review on bacterial chitinases titled "Bacterial Chitinases: Nature and Perspectives for Sustainable Bioproduction" has been accepted for publication in Bioresources and Bioprocessing. This is Qiang's first publication in our group, congrats!

Fulbright Scholar- Laura Hayward

Former lab member, Laura Hayward, is currently in Australia as a Fulbright Scholar. VCU recently published a news article about her here.

Sustainability collaboration with NASCAR

We had an opportunity to help with the NASCAR Green Initiative at the recent NASCAR race at Richmond International Raceway. Some students were helping to rollout a new carbon calculator that was developed in conjunction with the EPA. Unfortunately the original race day (Saturday) was really rainy, but the students perservered! Here is a link to a news article related to this event.

Nascar Image

2015 Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Fong recently received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the VCU Engineering Student Council.

 Dr Fong Award

Collaborative project with Garden Grove Brewing Company

We've started a research project in conjunction with Mike Brandt and Garden Grove Brewing Company.

More fun with beer?

We've been really fortunate to have some great partners to work with in the local craft brewing industry. Here's a recent article in the news about some of this work. The article is titled "Local breweries are partnering with university labs for better beer."

VCU School of Engineering DURI 2015

Congratulations to undergraduate students Ms. Briggitte Ha and Ms. Pooja Nanjannavar and mentors Adam Fisher and George McArthur IV for being selected for 2015 DURI Awards!

See the list of awardees here.

AIMS Bioengineering Review accepted

Our review paper "Lignin biodegradation and industrial implications" has been accepted for publication. The link to the online version of the manuscript is found here.

#innovateinRVA "Science of Craft Beer"

Had a great time participating in a discussion panel with Kate from Hardywood and Mike from Strangeways at the VA Biotech Park on "The Science of Craft Beer" hosted by Annie Tobey today!

InnovateRVA Image

Richmond Times Dispatch - Stone Brewing

Dr. Fong was part of the team that met with Stone Brewing as part of the effort to recruit Stone Brewing to Richmond. An article in the Richmond Times Dispatch covers some of this effort here.

Review in Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering accepted

Our Review titled "A review of genome-scale metabolic flux modeling of anaerobiosis in biotechnology" written with Drs. Jiun Yen and Ryan Senger from Virginia Tech has been accepted for publication in Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering.

Mini-review accepted in Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal

Our mini-review titled "Computational Approaches to Metabolic Engineering Utilizing Systems Biology and Synthetic Biology" has been accepted for publication in Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal.

Paper accepted at BMC Systems Biology

Our computational model on Thermobifida fusca built using proteomic data has been accepted at BMC Systems Biology.

Lightning strikes!

George McArthur gave a lightning talk at the recent Metabolic Engineering X conference titled "The Impact of Orthogonal Gene Expression on Heterologous Pathway Productivity."

Biochemical Engineering Journal paper accepted

Yu Deng's paper titled "Production of butyric acid by a cellulolytic actinobacterium Thermobifida fusca on cellulose" has been accepted in Biochemical Engineering Journal.

HSURP student

Ms. Emily Miller has started in our group as part of VCU's Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Program. One of her first contributions? DNA cupcakes!

DNA Cupcakes


Manuscript accepted at Bioengineered

Advait's paper on modeling cellulose degradation with Dr. Ryan Senger titled "Designing novel cellulase systems through Agent-Based Modeling and Global Sensitivity Analysis" has been accepted for publication in Bioengineered.


Laura Hayward
Congratulations to Laura Hayward who was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Australia next year!

ACS conference

Dr. Fong co-chaired two sessions for the BIOT Division of ACS with Dr. David Hogsett.

Hardywood Visitors

Hardywood Visitors
We were excited to have a visit today from Patrick Murtaugh and Kate Lee from Hardywood Brewery.

Our paper "ex vivo DNA assembly," published in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, is featured on the main Frontiers homepage!

frontiers homepage

Dr. Fong gives talk in Chile

Dr. Fong gave a talk on synthetic biology at the Universidad Mayor in Santiago, Chile on Sept. 25. It was a great trip with an awesome group in Chile! There is a write-up of the visit here and a second write-up below.

Chile Article

Congratulations to Dr. George McArthur IV!

Congratulations to Dr. George McArthur IV who successfully defended his dissertation on April 19, 2013!

Dr. MacArthur IV