Oh lab

Food microbiology and biotechnology laboratory

Our research focuses on fermentation science and the biotechnological production of food ingredients and value-added chemicals using engineered microorganisms. We aim to develop designer microorganisms by metabolic engineering and synthetic biology approaches.


  • Principal investigator

Eun Joong Oh

Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science, Purdue University

  • Postdoc, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Colorado

  • Ph.D., Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois

  • B.S., Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, Seoul National University

  • Email: ejoh@purdue.edu

  • Postdoctoral Researcher

Deokyeol Jeong

  • Ph.D., Food Science and Biotechnology, Kyungpook National University

  • B.S., Food Science and Biotechnology, Kyungpook National University

  • Email: jung413@purdue.edu

  • Graduate student

Dahye Lee

  • M.S., Food Science and Biotechnology, Dongguk University

  • B.S., Food Science and Biotechnology, Dongguk University

  • Email: lee3835@purdue.edu

Fransheska Semidey

  • M.S., Food Science and Technology, University of Puerto Rico

  • B.S., Biomedical Sciences, University of Puerto Rico

  • Email: fsemidey@purdue.edu

Luping Xu

  • M.S., Food Science, Purdue University

  • B.S., Food Science, Purdue University

  • Email: xu653@purdue.edu

Chenhai Li

  • B.S., Food Science, Purdue University

  • Email: li4248@purdue.edu

  • underGraduate student

Kara Adams

  • 09/2022 -

Rebecca Mold

  • 09/2022 -

  • Former members

Undergraduate Student

  • Kelden Cook (08/2021 - 05/2022)

  • Tess Snyder (08/2021 - 05/2022)

  • Cristina Pou (04/2021 - 05/2022)

  • Kibeom Song (03/2021 - 05/2021)


The broad, overall mission statement of the Food Microbiology and Biotechnology Lab is to develop the knowledge and tools required to create designer microorganisms that confer desired phenotypes in a precise, predictable, and reproducible manner.

Engineer yeast strains capable of converting carbon sources from cellulosic biomass and pectin-rich biomass into value-added products

Conversion of agricultural biomass to value-added products using microbial fermentation is an attractive option to substitute petroleum-based production economically and sustainably. Traditionally, corn-starch and sugarcane juice have been used as primary carbon sources for microbial conversion. Still, the use of human-edible substrates competing with food supply generates ethical discussions. Therefore, sustainable and cost-effective feedstocks for bioconversion are critical for industrial fermentation strategies. Since widely used cell factories such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae cannot ferment carbon sources in agricultural residues, research efforts have been focused on developing engineered yeast strains capable of co-utilizing carbon sources in the hydrolysates of biomass.

Improve platform strain phenotypes for the production of fermented foods via rapid and efficient genome manipulation

During the fermentation process, yeast can generate both beneficial and potentially undesirable compounds that impact consumers. By employing CRISPR/Cas9-based genome engineering techniques in baker's yeast, commonly used in fermented foods such as wine and bread, it is possible to enhance the synthesis of favorable compounds while reducing the formation of detrimental substances. This approach has the potential to improve the flavor and nutritional content of fermented foods and beverages. Consequently, Dr. Oh's laboratory is focused on developing microorganisms with optimized characteristics for fermented food production by employing systematic and combinatorial strategies.

Engineer probiotic yeast strains for therapeutic applications

Advanced engineered probiotics present distinctive characteristics for potential therapeutic applications in disease management. Saccharomyces boulardii, a probiotic yeast, demonstrates rapid proliferation at 37°C, allows for straightforward transformation, and possesses the ability to synthesize therapeutic proteins within the gastrointestinal tract. S. boulardii offers several key advantages over traditional bacteria-based probiotics, including the potential for precise and predictable genetic modification using CRISPR/Cas9, as well as the capacity to synthesize and display complex, multi-part biological systems. Dr. Oh's laboratory has developed a novel class of advanced engineered probiotic yeast strains aimed at reducing intestinal colonization by pathogenic bacteria and promoting gut health.



Welcome to the Oh lab!

August. 21. 2023

The food microbiology and biotechnology lab welcomes Chenhai Li, a FS graduate student, to the lab!

Oh lab receives a grant from USDA!

June. 16. 2023

Fermentation of undesirable oligosaccharides by designer baker’s yeast to alleviate functional bowel disorders.

Welcome to the Oh lab!

September. 1. 2022

The food microbiology and biotechnology lab welcomes Dr. Deokyeol Jeong, a postdoctoral researcher, to the lab!

Welcome to the Oh lab!

August. 15. 2022

The food microbiology and biotechnology lab welcomes Fransheska Semidey and Luping Xu, FS graduate students, to the lab!

Oh lab receives a grant from the Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Trust grants program!

July. 1. 2022

Research in the area of new technologies for food production, preservation, distribution and safety.

Oh lab receives a grant from USDA!

June. 15. 2022

To improve or expand utilization of waste and byproducts generated in agriculture and food systems.

Oh lab receives an AgSEED grant from the Purdue University College of Agriculture!

May. 1. 2021

The Agricultural Science and Extension for Economic Development program, or AgSEED, is the Purdue University College of Agriculture’s internal competitive grants system focused on advancing Indiana’s leadership in plant and animal agriculture and rural development.

Welcome to the Oh lab!

January. 18. 2021

The food microbiology and biotechnology lab welcomes Dahye Lee, a FS graduate student, to the lab!

lab opening

We are looking for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are interested in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. The successful candidate will be responsible for
conducting research to develop designer microorganisms for industrial bioprocesses.

  • Graduate students: Please contact ejoh@purdue.edu with your CV.

  • Postdoctoral researchers: Applicants should send their CV, cover letter, and contact information for at least three references to ejoh@purdue.edu.


  • Email: ejoh@purdue.edu

  • Tel: 765-496-5012

  • Office: Nelson Hall of Food Science (NLSN) Room 3225, 745 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907