Brett Boghigian

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Giving a talk at Tufts in the spring of 2009

Contact Information

In April 2011, Brett joined the founding team of Essentient, Inc., a company in Cambridge, MA founded and funded by Flagship Ventures to transform global nutrition.


  • 2010 - Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Tufts University
    • Thesis: "Multi-scale engineering and modeling of heterologous natural product biosynthesis in Escherichia coli" (384pp)
    • Adviser: Professor Blaine A. Pfeifer
  • 2007 - B.S. Chemical Engineering (philosophy minor), Tufts University

Research Interests

My research and academic interests are in: metabolic engineering, natural products, molecular biology, computational systems biology, analytical proteomics and metabolomics, bioreactor engineering, and protein purification. Although they are not topics of my research, I am interested in the philosophy of molecular biology and evolution, as well as alternative fuel technology.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

(* indicates co-first author. indicates undergraduate author)

  • Boghigian BA, Armando J, Salas DF, Pfeifer BA. Computational identification of gene over-expression targets for metabolic engineering. 2011. In preparation.
  • Boghigian BA, Salas DF, Ajikumar PK, Stephanopoulos G, Pfeifer BA. Analysis of heterologous taxadiene production in K- and B-derived Escherichia coli. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011. Accepted.
  • Boghigian BA*, Myint M*, Wu J, Pfeifer BA. Simultaneous production and partitioning of heterologous polyketide and isoprenoid natural products in an Escherichia coli two-phase bioprocess. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011. In press. (Link)
  • Boghigian BA, Zhang H, Pfeifer BA. Multi-factorial engineering of heterologous polyketide production in Escherichia coli reveals complex pathway interactions. Biotechnol Bioeng. 2011 Jun;108(6):1360-71. (Link)
  • Zhang H, Boghigian BA, Armando J, Pfeifer BA. Methods and options for the heterologous production of complex natural products. Nat Prod Rep. 2011 Jan 17;28(1):125-51. (PubMed)
  • Wu J, Boghigian BA, Myint M, Zhang H, Zhang S, Pfeifer BA. Construction and performance of heterologous polyketide producing K-12- and B-derived Escherichia coli. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2010 Aug;51(2):196-204. (PubMed)
  • Boghigian BA, Shi H, Lee K, Pfeifer BA. Utilizing elementary mode analysis, pathway thermodynamics, and a genetic algorithm for metabolic flux determination and optimal metabolic network design. BMC Syst Biol. 2010 Apr 23;4(1):49. (PubMed) "Highly Accessed" status
  • Boghigian BA, Seth G, Kiss R, Pfeifer BA. Metabolic flux analysis and pharmaceutical production. Metab Eng. 2010 Mar;12(2):81-95. (PubMed) "Most Downloaded" status
  • Zhang H, Boghigian BA, Pfeifer BA. Investigating the role of native propionyl-CoA and methylmalonyl-CoA metabolism on heterologous polyketide production in Escherichia coli. Biotechnol Bioeng. 2010 Feb 15;105(3):567-73. (PubMed)
  • Boghigian BA, Lee K, Pfeifer BA. Computational analysis of phenotypic space in heterologous polyketide biosynthesis – applications to Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. J Theor Biol. 2010 Jan 21;262(2):197-207. (PubMed)
  • Zhang H, Wang Y, Boghigian BA, Pfeifer BA. Probing the heterologous metabolism supporting 6-deoxyerythronolide B biosynthesis in E. coli. Microbial Biotechnol. 2009 May;2(3):390-4. (Link)
  • Boghigian BA, Pfeifer BA. Current status, strategies, and potential for the metabolic engineering of heterologous polyketides in Escherichia coli. Biotechnol Lett. 2008 Aug;30(8):1323-30. Review. (PubMed)
  • Wang Y*, Boghigian BA*, Pfeifer BA. Improving heterologous polyketide production in Escherichia coli by overexpression of an S-adenosylmethionine synthetase gene. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2007 Nov;77(2):367-73. (PubMed)
  • Scrivener E, Boghigian BA, Golenko E, Bogdanova A, Jackson P, Mikulskis A, Denoyer E, Courtney P, Lopez MF, Patton WF. Performance validation of an improved Xenon-arc lamp-based CCD camera system for multispectral imaging in proteomics. Proteomics. 2005 Nov;5(17):4354-66. (PubMed)

Conference Presentations

  • Boghigian BA, Pfeifer BA. Multi-scale engineering of heterologous polyketide and isoprenoid natural products in Escherichia coli. SIM Annual Meeting (San Francisco, CA). 2010.
  • Boghigian BA, Wang Y, Salas D, Stephanopoulos G, Pfeifer BA. Multi-scale engineering of a Taxol® precursor in Escherichia coli. AIChE Annual Meeting (Nashville, TN). 2009.
  • Boghigian BA, Wang Y, Pistorino M, Pfeifer BA. Multiple approaches to improving heterologous polyketide production from E. coli. Metabolic Engineering VII (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico). 2008.
  • Boghigian BA, Wang Y, Lee K, Pfeifer BA. Improving heterologous polyketide production in Escherichia coli through signal pathway engineering and metabolic modeling. Boston Bacteriology Meeting (Cambridge, MA). 2008.
  • Boghigian BA, Wang Y, Pfeifer BA. A closer look at E. coli-derived 6-deoxyerythronolide B biosynthesis. AIChE Annual Meeting (San Francisco, CA). 2006.
  • Wang Y, Boghigian BA, Shi G, Zhang H, Lavoie JR, Pfeifer BA. Enhancing polyketide production in E. coli by the accumulating of intracellular S-adenosylmethionine. Boston Bacterial Meeting (Cambridge, MA). 2006.
  • Stehmann C, Boghigian BA, Golenko E, Scrivener E, Patton WF, Lopez MF. A xenon-arc lamp-based charge-coupled device (CCD) camera system for multispectral imaging in proteomics. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2004 Oct;3(10):S301. HUPO 3rd Annual World Congress (Beijing, China). 2004.


  • 2009 – Outstanding Graduate Contributor to Engineering Education Award, Tufts University School of Engineering
  • 2008 – Best Teaching Assistant Award, Tufts University Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering
  • 2007 – Best Presentation Award, Tufts University Undergraduate Research Symposium
  • 2006 – Outstanding Chemical Engineering Student at Tufts University, Boston Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Work Experience

  • May05–Apr11 – Pfeifer Lab, Chemical & Biological Engineering, Tufts University (Medford, MA)
  • May07–Aug07 – Wyeth BioPharma, Purification Process Development (Andover, MA)
  • Sep04–May05 – Kaplan Lab, Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University (Medford, MA)
  • Jun04–Sep04 – PerkinElmer Life & Analytical Sciences, Biochemistry (Boston, MA)
  • May04–Aug04 – Noelle Industries, Process Manufacturing (Billerica, MA)
  • A lot more you don't care about

Teaching Experience

(all at Tufts University)


I was born in Cambridge, MA and grew up in a suburb of Boston: Bedford, MA and attended Bedford High School. I graduated with a B.S. in chemical engineering and a minor in philosophy from Tufts University in May of 2007. After a summer working in purification process development at Wyeth BioPharma (now Pfizer), I stayed around Tufts to complete a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. I defended my thesis in December 2010 and after a few months wrapping up publications and experiments at Tufts, I joined Essentient, Inc. in April 2011. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, watching movies (from Kubrick and Coppola to Bergman and Fellini), watching Boston sports (Pats, Sox, C's, but not really the B's), listening to music (from Lil' Wayne to Led Zeppelin to Johnny Cash), and playing sports (golf, tennis, basketball, and baseball).



Labs of Interest

Pfeifer Lab OWW Homepage