Rao recognized for biological systems research


Christopher Rao, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is the recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Young Research award from the Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE). He is being recognized for “contributions to control theory and multi-scale simulation and their application to biological systems.”

Rao’s research group utilizes both computational and experimental approaches to discover how cells process information, and to engineer these pathways for novel medical and industrial applications.

“We are particularly interested in understanding how these decision making processes are encoded within the cell through feedback control,” explained Rao, who also has research appointments with the Institute for Genomic Biology and the Beckman Institute at Illinois. “Our lab is also engineering bacteria for the production of fuels and is developing new genetic tools to make this possible.”

Before joining the Illinois faculty in 2005, Rao was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Established in 2004, the Outstanding Young Researcher Award recognizes an individual under the age of 40 for outstanding contributions to the chemical engineering computing and systems technology literature and is sponsored by Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.