Cheemeng Tan

Cheemeng Tan

Position Title
Assistant Professor

GH3009, Davis, CA 95616

Research Interests

Synthetic biology, artificial cells, and antibiotic treatment

My lab is interested in the engineering of synthetic biological systems for therapeutic treatment. To achieve this long-term goal, we pursue two fundamental directions in parallel. To improve the control of synthetic cellular systems, we harness functioning mechanisms of natural cells to control dynamics of synthetic cells. In addition, we investigate how heterogeneous cellular populations respond to drug treatment. We aim to merge the two directions to create novel treatment strategies using artificial cellular systems. Our work is multi-disciplinary and strives to create a new frontier in synthetic & quantitative biology by synergizing ideas from different fields.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group
  • Integrative Genetics and Genomics

Specialties / Focus

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Cellular Responses to Toxins and Stress
  • Computational Biology
  • Gene Regulation
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Microbiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Synthetic Biology


  • 2010 PhD Biomedical Engineering Duke University
  • 2002 MS High Performance Computing Singapore-MIT Alliance


Synthetic microbial consortia enable rapid assembly of multi-protein complexes. F. Villarreal, M. Chavez, Y. Ding, J. Fan, T. Pan, and C. Tan. Nature Chemical Biology, 2018

Reconfigurable Analog Signal Processing by Living Cells. D. Lewis, M. Chavez, K. Chiu, C. Tan. ACS Synthetic Biology, 2017

Multi-dimensional Studies of Synthetic Genetic Promoters Enabled by Microfluidic Impact Printing. J Fan, F Villarreal, B Weyers, Y Ding, K Tseng, J Li, B Li*, C. Tan*, and T Pan* (*co-corresponding authors). Lab on a chip, 2017

C. Tan, S. Saurabh, M. Bruchez, R. Schwartz, and P. LeDuc.Shaping gene expression in artificial cellular systems by cell-inspired molecular crowding. Nature Nanotechnology, 2013.

C. Tan*, R. Smith*, J. Srimani, K. Riccione, S. Prasada, M. Kuehn, and L. You. (*Equal contribution).The inoculum effect and band-pass bacterial response to periodic antibiotic treatment.Molecular Systems Biology, 2012

C. Tan, P. Marguet, and L. You. Emergent bistability by a growth-modulating positive feedback circuit. Nature Chemical Biology, 2009.