Prof Christina Smolke originally studied Chemical Engineering with Emphasis in Biology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She completed her PhD thesis at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2001, under the supervision of Jay Keasling. Christina went on to hold positions at Caltech and City of Hope Hospital before taking up her current post as Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University in 2009.
One key research focus for the Smolke lab is in using S. cerevisiae as a biosynthesis platform for the production of natural plant chemicals. Their recent work on the ‘Complete biosynthesis of opioids in yeast’ published in Science in 2015 (S. Galanie et al. Science) has received global attention. Prof Smolke was also named as one of Nature’s 10 – top 10 people who mattered in 2015 – on the back on this successful work. Smolke is also the co-founder of a company called Antheia, based in Palo Alto that aims to produce plant based medicines.