Christopher V Rao

Christopher V Rao
Christopher V Rao
  • Department Head, Ray and Beverly Mentzer Professor
(217) 244-2247
211 Roger Adams Laboratory

Applies systems engineering approaches to study biological problems associated with bacterial pathogenesis, inflammation, and biofuel production.

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  • Postdoctorate, University of California, Berkeley, 2000-2004
  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 2000
  • B.S., Carnegie Mellon University, 1994

Research Interests

  • Systems and Synthetic Biology

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Selected Articles in Journals

  • A. H. Badur, M. J. Plutz, G. Yalamanchili, S. S. Jagtap, T. Schweder, F .Unfried, S. Markert, M. F. Polz, J. H. Hehemann, C. V. Rao. Exploiting Fine-scale Genetic and Physiological Variation of Closely Related Microbes to Reveal Unknown Enzyme Functions. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2017
  • D. G. Christensen, J. S. Orr, C V. Rao, A. J. Wolfe AJ. Increasing growth yield and decreasing acetylation in Escherichia coli by optimizing the carbon-to-magnesium ratio in peptide-based media. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2017
  • M. Sim, S. Koirala, D. Picton, H. Strahl, P. A. Hoskisson, C. V. Rao, C. S. Gillespie, P. D. Aldridge. Growth rate control of flagellar assembly in Escherichia coli strain RP437. Scientific Reports. 2017.
  • S. Koirala and C. V. Rao. Dynamic measures of flagellar gene expression. Methods in Molecular Biology, 2017.
  • S. Zhang, M. Ito, J. M. Skerker, A.P. Arkin AP, C. V. Rao. Metabolic engineering of the oleaginous yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides IFO0880 for lipid overproduction during high-density fermentation. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2016.
  • Y. Cao Y, M. D. Ryser, S. Payne, B. Li, C. V. Rao, L You. Collective Space-Sensing Coordinates Pattern Scaling in Engineered Bacteria. Cell. 2016 Apr 21;165(3):620-30.
  • J. Zhou, K. Wu, C. V. Rao. Evolutionary engineering of Geobacillus thermoglucosidasius for improved ethanol production. Biotechnology and Bioengineering. 2016.
  • Rutter CD, Rao CV. Production of 1-decanol by metabolically engineered Yarrowia lipolytica. Metabolic Engineering. 2016 Jul 26;38:139-147.
  • A. Shenoy, C. V. Rao, C. M. Schroeder. Stokes Trap: Multiplexed particle manipulation and assembly using fluidics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(15):3976-81, 2016.
  • J. J. Liu, I. I. Kong, G. C. Zhang, L. N. Jayakody, H. Kim, P. F. Xia, S. Kwak, B. H. Sung, J. H.. Sohn, H. E. Walukiewicz, C. V. Rao, Y. S. Jin. Metabolic engineering of a probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 82(8):2280-7, 2016.
  • S. Koirala and C. V. Rao. Reciprocal regulation of arabinose and xylose metabolism in Escherichia coli. Journal of Bacteriology, 198:386-93, 2015.
  • S. Zhang, J. M. Skerker, C. D. Rutter, M. J. Maurer, A. P. Arkin, and C. V. Rao. Engineering Rhodosporidium toruloides for increased lipid production. Biotechnology and Bionengineering, 113(5):1056-66, 2016.
  • C. Rutter and C. V. Rao. Engineering Yarrowia lipolytica for Production of Medium-Chain Fatty Acids. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 2015.
  • K. Dunn and C. V. Rao. High-throughput sequencing reveals adaptation-induced mutations in pentose-fermenting strains of Zymomonas mobilis. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 2015.
  • A. Badur, S. Jagtap, G. Yalamanchili, J.-K. Lee, H. Zhao, C. V. Rao. Alginate Lyases from Alginate-Degrading Vibrio splendidus 12B01 Are Endolytic. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81(5):1865-73, 2015.
  • S. Lane, S. Zhang, N. Wei, C. V. Rao, Y-S Jin. Development and physiological characterization of cellobiose-consuming Yarrowia lipolytica. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 112:1012-22, 2015.
  • C. V. Rao and S. Koirala. Black and white with some shades of grey: the diverse responses of inducible metabolic pathways in Escherichia coli. Molecular Microbiology, 93(6):1079-83, 2014.
  • H. E. Walukiewicz, P. Tohidifar, G. W. Ordal, and C. V. Rao. Interactions among the three adaptation systems of Bacillus subtilis chemotaxis as revealed by an in vitro receptor-kinase assay. Molecular Microbiology, 93(6):1104-18, 2014.
  • S. Koirala, P. Mears, M. Sim, I. Golding, Y. R. Chemla, P. D. Aldridge, and C. V. Rao. A nutrient-tunable bistable switch controls motility in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. mBio, 2014.
  • P. J. Mears, S. Koirala, C. V. Rao, I. Golding, Y. R. Chemla YR. Escherichia coli swimming is robust against variations in flagellar number. Elife, 3:e01916, 2014.
  • K. L. Dunn, C. V. Rao. Expression of a xylose-specific transporter improves ethanol production by metabolically engineered Zymomonas mobilis. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 2014.
  • M. B. Byrne, Y. Kimura, A. Kapoor, Y. He, K. S. Mattam, K. M. Hasan, L. N. Olson, F. Wang, P. J. A. Kenis, C. V. Rao. Oscillatory Behavior of Neutrophils Under Opposing Chemoattractant Gradients Supports a Winner-Take-All Mechanism. Plos One, 2014.
  • C. Josenhans, K. Jung, C. V. Rao, and A. J. Wolfe. A Tale of Two Machines: A review of the BLAST meeting, Tucson, AZ, January 20-24, 2013. Molecular Microbiology, 91:6-25, 2014.
  • Y. He Y, D. Li, S. L. Cook, M. S. Yoon, A. Kapoor, C. V. Rao, P. J. Kenis, J. Chen, and F. Wang. Mammalian Target of Rapamycin and Rictor control neutrophil chemotaxis by regulating Rac/Cdc42 activity and the actin cytoskeleton. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 24:3369-80, 2013.


  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, College of Engineering, University of Illinois, 2014
  • Robert W. Schaefer Scholar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012-present
  • Helen Corley Petit Scholar, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois, UC, 2011-2012
  • CAST Outstanding Young Researcher Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2012
  • Inaugural High Impact Paper Award, International Federation of Automatic Control, 2010
  • CAST Directors' Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2008
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, School of Chemical Sciences, University of Illinois, 2008
  • W. David Smith Graduate Publication Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2007
  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation, 2007

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