Yo Suzuki is an Assistant Professor working in the Synthetic Biology group. Dr. Suzuki’s research is focused on systematic investigation of gene functions in various organisms. This includes studies of phenotypes involving inactivation or hyperactivation of multiple genes that can reveal novel gene functions. In some cases, these functions can be incorporated into microbial organisms through genome engineering to serve specific purposes in industrial or biomedical applications.

Prior to his appointment at JCVI, Dr. Suzuki was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. He began is career as a research associate with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Boulder, Colorado.  

He received his PhD from University of Colorado at Boulder in molecular biology. His undergraduate degree is from Nagoya University in Japan.

Research Priorities

Understanding cellular life
  • Systematic analysis of gene functions for all genes in the genome using conditional gene inactivation via CRISPRi in a minimal bacterial cell.
Engineering deep-skin microbiotas toward a treatment for type 1 diabetes
  • Construction of bacteria that can respond to rising blood glucose levels and produce a variant of insulin in a suitable layer of the skin to serve as a surrogate for the insulin-producing cell in the body.
  • Eventual development of a safe, non-invasive, non-immunoreactive, and fully automated system for glucose sensing and insulin administration.
Developing organisms for producing fuels and valuable compounds from biomass
  • Establishment of synthetic biology pipelines for designing, building, and testing organisms and other biological systems.
  • Application of advanced genome engineering technologies to the engineering of bacteria with the capacity to utilize aromatic compounds derived from lignin.
  • Identification of synergistic interactions among cellulases and incorporation of these interactions into designer cellulosomes for efficient release of sugar from biomass.
Using drug-sensitive yeast strains to rapidly identify mechanisms of action for drugs
  • Identification of candidate targets for antimalarials and anti-cancer compounds using whole genome sequencing in yeast strains that acquired mutations to resist these compounds.
  • Validation of causal mutations for the resistance phenotypes using genetic engineering.
  • Acceleration of the identification of compound targets in native organisms with information from facile yeast experiments.


Tuning Gene Activity by Inducible and Targeted Regulation of Gene Expression in Minimal Bacterial Cells.
ACS synthetic biology. 2018-06-15; 7.6: 1538-1552.
PMID: 29786424
The Human Microbiome and Cancer.
Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.). 2017-04-01; 10.4: 226-234.
PMID: 28096237
Comparative chemical genomics reveal that the spiroindolone antimalarial KAE609 (Cipargamin) is a P-type ATPase inhibitor.
Scientific reports. 2016-06-13; 6.27806.
PMID: 27291296
Bacterial genome reduction using the progressive clustering of deletions via yeast sexual cycling.
Genome research. 2015-03-01; 25.3: 435-44.
PMID: 25654978
Cloning Should Be Simple: Escherichia coli DH5α-Mediated Assembly of Multiple DNA Fragments with Short End Homologies.
PloS one. 2015-01-01; 10.9: e0137466.
PMID: 26348330
Genomic and transcriptomic analyses of colistin-resistant clinical isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae reveal multiple pathways of resistance.
Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy. 2015-01-01; 59.1: 536-43.
PMID: 25385117
Rescue of mutant fitness defects using in vitro reconstituted designer transposons in Mycoplasma mycoides.
Frontiers in microbiology. 2014-01-01; 5.369.
PMID: 25101070
Direct transfer of whole genomes from bacteria to yeast.
Nature methods. 2013-05-01; 10.5: 410-2.
PMID: 23542886
Knocking out multigene redundancies via cycles of sexual assortment and fluorescence selection.
Nature methods. 2011-02-01; 8.2: 159-64.
PMID: 21217751
No More Needles! Using Microbiome and Synthetic Biology Advances to Better Treat Type 1 Diabetes