Faculty Members

Profile image of Stephen Fong, Ph.D.

Dr. Stephen Fong is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering and a Fellow in the Center for the Study of Biological Complexity at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. He received his PhD in Bioengineering from UCSD in 2004. Dr. Fong has expertise in systems biology and metabolic engineering with background in strain development for chemical production and computational modeling. As a graduate student, Dr. Fong completed the first-ever study that used large-scale metabolic modeling to design and implement novel chemical production into organisms. Three design strategies were identified to produce lactic acid from the bacterium, Escherichia coli. All three engineered designs produced >1 g/L lactic acid starting from 2 g/L glucose where the control, unmodified strain produced no lactic acid.

Graduate Members

Profile image of Qiang Yan

Qiang Yan is a PhD student in the department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering. My research is focused on the use of microbial metabolic pathways for production of pharmaceutical or novel compounds. I am currently focused on production of high value-added chemical from chitin in microbial systems.

Profile image of Jason Liu

Jason Liu joined the lab in 2015 as a PhD student. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering. His research interests include renewable energy and synthetic biology. In his spare time, he likes to swim and practice guitar.

Profile image of John Daye

John Daye is a Masters student in the department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering. With his undergraduate background in biochemistry, John’s research is focused on integrating biological systems with conductive materials. In his spare time, he enjoys working out and exploring Richmond.

Profile image of Stephen Wunsch

Stephen Wunsch is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Bioinformatics at VCU. His current work utilizes his experience in the fields of Molecular Biology and Computer Science to build upon methods and scripts used to perform constraint-based reconstruction and analysis of genome-scale networks. In his spare time, he enjoys trying to play basketball and coffee breaks.

Undergraduate Members

Profile image of Kelsey Fitzgerald

Kelsey FitzGerald is an undergraduate Chemistry and Chemical and Life Science engineering double major. She is primarily interested in microbiology, and is interested in conducting research in synthetic biology.  In her spare time she likes to spend time with friends, bake, and read manga.

Profile image of Zach Canfield

Zach Canfield is an undergraduate researcher in synthetic biology and a chemistry and chemical engineering double major at VCU. His research interests are primarily in biological engineering, but he holds a strong fascination for the chemical sciences. In his spare time he also enjoy making music with friends and long walks on the beach...

Profile image of Pooja Nanjannavar

Pooja Nanjannavar is an undergraduate in Chemical Engineering. She hopes to conduct further research in the fields of synthetic biology and biological engineering. In addition to lab work, she also loves to volunteer with kids and crochet.

Profile image of Vanessa Vaughan

Vanessa Vaughan is an undergraduate going for a double major in Chemistry and Chemical Engineer with minors in Math and Statistics. She is very interested in biological systems engineering with a special place in her heart for statistics and chemistry. She is a connoisseur of fine cuisine and likes to make cool stuff in her spare time.