Kristala Jones Prather is the Theodore T. Miller Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an investigator in the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center, funded by the National Science Foundation. Her research interests are centered on the engineering of recombinant microorganisms for the production of small molecules.
Prather’s group focuses on the design and assembly of biological pathways to target some compounds and the incorporation of novel control strategies for regulation of metabolism. While in residence at the Institute, Prather will work to establish collaborations with Emily Balskus and David Liu (of Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology) and with George Church and Pamela Silver (Harvard Medical School) in order to broaden the spectrum of bio-based chemicals and to learn new methods for engineering microbial hosts.
Prather received an SB degree from MIT and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and worked in bioprocess research and development at Merck Research Laboratories prior to joining the MIT faculty. She has received numerous awards, including a spot on the MIT Technology Review‘s TR35, a list of innovators under the age of 35; the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award; and the Biochemical Engineering Journal Young Investigator Award. Prather has been recognized for excellence in teaching at MIT with several awards, including the School of Engineering’s Junior Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching, and through appointment as a MacVicar Faculty Fellow, the highest honor given for undergraduate teaching at MIT.