Faculty Profile

Mark A. Blenner

Associate Professor


  • Post-Doctorate – 2012 Harvard Medical School
  • Doctorate – 2009 Columbia University
  • Bachelors – 2004 Manhattan College

About Mark A. Blenner (h3)

Biological systems have been used for the production of value-added compounds for centuries; however, our ability to read and write DNA make it possible to engineer biology to far exceed its natural capabilities. My research group addresses big problems in sustainability, human health, national defense, and space exploration – using synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, genomics & systems biology, and protein engineering. We work mostly in eukaryotic systems (non-model yeast and mammalian cells) as well as bacteria.

Select Publications 

For a complete listing of publications, please view the Full CV.

  1. Rodriguez, G.‡, Shabbir Hussain, M.‡, Gambill L., Gao, D., Yaguchi, A., Blenner, M.* “Engineering Xylose Utilization in Yarrowia lipolytica by Understanding its Cryptic Xylose Pathway”, Biotechnology for Biofuels 9:149 (2016)
  2. Schwartz, C., Shabbir-Hussain, M., Blenner, M., Wheeldon, I.* “Synthetic RNA Polymerase III Promoters Facilitate High Efficiency CRISPR-Cas9 Mediated Genome Editing in Yarrowia lipolytica”, ACS Synthetic Biology 5(4):356-359. (2016)
  3. Gao, D., Smith, S., Rodriguez, G., Shabbir Hussain, M., Blenner, M.* “Dual CRISPR-Cas9 Cleavage in Yarrowia lipolytica Leads to Efficient Gene Excision and Targeted Integration”, Biotechnology Journal 13:9 1-8 (2018) doi: 10.1002/biot.201700590
  4. Shabbir Hussain, M., Wheeldon, I., Blenner, M.* “A Strong Hybrid Fatty Acid Inducible Transcriptional Sensor Built from Yarrowia lipolytica Upstream Activating and Regulatory Sequences”, Biotechnology Journal 12(1):1-11 (2017). DOI: 10.1002/biot.201700248
  5. 5. Shabbir Hussain, M., Gambill L., Smith, S., Blenner, M.* “Engineering Promoter Architecture in Oleaginous Yeast Yarrowia lipolytica”, ACS Synthetic Biology, 5(3):213-223. (2016)
  6. Blenner, M. “Influence of epigenetics on bioprocessing”, Chemical Engineering Progress, 9:72-76 (2018)
  7. Yaguchi, A., Lee, S., Franaszek, N., O’Neill, K., Boundy-Mills, K., Blenner, M.*. “Identification of aromatic metabolizing oleaginous yeast”, Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology (In Press)
  8. Schwartz, C., Cheng, JF., Evans, R., Schwartz, CA., Wagner, JM., Anglin, S., Beitz, A., Pan, W., Lonardi, S., Blenner, M., Alper, H., Yoshikuni, Y., Wheeldon, I.* “Validating genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 function improves screening in the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica”, Metabolic Engineering 55:9 102-110 (2019)
  9. Yaguchi, A., Spagnuolo, M., Blenner, M*. “Engineering Yeast for Utilization of Alternative Feedstocks”, Current Opinion in Biotechnology 53:122-129 (2018)
  10. 1Yaguchi, A., Robinson A., Mihealsick E., Blenner, M.* “Metabolism of Aromatic Compounds by Trichosporon oleaginosus While Remaining Oleaginous”, Microbial Cell Factories 16:206 (2017) DOI: 10.1186/s12934-017-0820-8

Patents (h3)

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For a complete listing of awards, please view the Full CV.

  1. ACS BIOT Young Investigator Award: 2021
  2. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists & Engineers (PECASE): 2019
  3. South Carolina Governor’s Young Scientist Award for Excellence in Scientific Research: 2020
  4. Junior Researcher of the Year, Clemson University: 2019
  5. DARPA Young Faculty Award: 2020
  6. NIH Outstanding Investigator Award: 2019
  7. NASA Early Career Faculty Award: 2015
  8. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Young Investigator Award: 2015
  9. McQueen Quattlebaum Junior Professorship, Clemson University: 2018
  10. CECAS Dean’s Professorship Award: 2016

Research Areas

Metabolic, Protein, and Genetic Engineering; Functional Genomics and Proteomics, Systems Biology, Biomanufacturing, Biosensing, Cellular Stress Response, Genetic & Phenotype Stability

Office: 507 BPI
Phone: 302-831-7348
PeopleFacultyMark A. Blenner