GP 4003, Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center, Gateway Park
+1 (508) 8316398
Affiliated Department or Office
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Postdoc, Biological Engineering, MIT 2013-2016
Ph.D. Chemical Engineering University of Texas, Austin 2013
B.S. Chemical Engineering University of Maine with Honors 2008
B.S. Biological Engineering University of Maine summa cum laude 2008

My research is in the broad, interdisciplinary field of synthetic biology, which applies engineering principles to biology. Within this field, we apply chemical engineering tenets to reprogram the DNA of yeasts, bacteria, and fungi so their metabolism produces interesting molecules. By treating these cells as "chemical factories," we can approach and solve problems in biofuels, biomaterials, and biosensors from a chemical engineer's point of view. Our strengths are in the disciplines of metabolic engineering, protein engineering, and systems biology, which we use to construct novel synthetic microbes. We collaborate with researchers across WPI, other institutions, and biotechnology companies to solve problems by engineering biology.

In the classroom, I train students within the unique project-based learning approach at WPI. To me, there is no greater reward than teaching a new generation of problem solvers that will make meaningful contributions to all areas of chemical engineering, and beyond. This is enabled by WPI’s emphasis on technology & society, which creates an environment where students can attain technical proficiency, study social impacts, and develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Therefore, I integrate value creation and social consciousness into my biochemical engineering courses.

Visit Digital WPI to view student projects advised by Professor Young.

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being

SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

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SDG 4: Quality Education

SDG 4: Quality Education - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

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SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

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SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

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SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

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SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

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Scholarly Work

Professor Young's research focuses on non-model microbial hosts, bio-security, and genomics.

Featured works:

Collins, J. H., Keating, K. W., Jones, T. R., Balaji, S., Marsan, C. B., Çomo, M., Newlon, Z. J., Mitchell, T., Bartley, B., Adler, A., Roehner, N., & Young, E. M. (2021) Engineered yeast genomes accurately assembled from pure and mixed samples. Nature Communicaitons, 12(1), 1485.

Mante, J., Hao, Y., Jett, J., Joshi, U., Keating, K., Lu, X., Nakum, G., Rodriguez, N. E., Tang, J., Terry, L., Wu, X., Yu, E., Downie, J.S., McInnes, B. T., Nguyen, M. H., Sepulvado, B., Young, E. M. & Myers, C. J.(2021) Synthetic Biology Knowledge System. ACS Synthetic Biology, 10(9), 2276-2285.

Brzycki, C. M., Young, E. M. & Roberts, S. C.(2021) Secondary Metabolite Production in Plant Cell Culture: A New Epigenetic Frontier. In S. Malik (Ed), Exploring Plant Cells for the Production of Compounds of Interest, (1 ed., pp. 1-37).

Chen, Y., Zhang, S., Young, E.M. et al.(2020) Genetic circuit design automation for yeast.. Nature Microbiology, 5, 1349-1360.

Keating, K.W., & Young, M. E. (2019) Synthetic biology for bio-derived structural materials. Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, 24, 107-114.

Collins, J. H., & Young, E.M. (2018) Genetic engineering of host organisms for pharmaceutical synthesis. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 53, 191-200.


Young, E. M., Gordon, D. B., Voight, C. (2017) Composability and Design of Parts for Large Scale Pathway Engineering in Yeast. (U.S. Patent No. 2017015947A9). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Filed.

Alper, H., Young, E. M. & Lee, S. (2014) Engineered Xylose Transporters with Reduced Glucose Inhibition. (U.S. Patent No. 9,695,223). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Alper, H. & Young, E. M. (2013) Methods for Engineering Sugar Transporter Preferences. (U.S. Patent No. 9,926,347). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Professional Highlights & Honors
CAREER Award, 2020
National Science Foundation
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship,


Worcester Business Journal
Industry advocates seek to turn Central Mass. into a leader in bioindustrial engineering

WPI is highlighted as one of the major forces behind developing a bioindustrial manufacturing hub in Central Massachusetts. Eric Young, assistant professor of chemical engineering told the Worcester Business Journal “We can leverage what Massachusetts is great at, and map it to a broader bioindustrial landscape. We can use the strong base we already have, and add in a few extra pieces.” 

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
WPI Chemical Engineer Receives $2M to Speed, Ease Genetic Engineering

More than 150 media outlets, including The Oklahoman and The Pittsburg Post-Gazette, reported on Eric Young, Leonard P. Kinnicutt Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at WPI, who received four separate grants totaling more than $2 million to support his research into using yeast and fungi to take on significant genetic engineering challenges. Through his research in synthetic biology, Young aims to engineer organisms to make it easier to develop numerous products, like medicines, biofuels, and plastics, and increase security by developing a new method to detect hidden underground explosives.