From OpenWetWare
(Redirected from Sean Clarke)
Jump to navigationJump to search


Sean Clarke
seanclarke at mit

I was a postdoc and earned my Ph.D. in the Alm lab in Biological Engineering at MIT. Our focus is on microbial ecology, microbiomes, and the evolution of microbial genomes. My work has been on experimental evolution, genomic adaptation and stress tolerance in Vibrio splendidus. In short, I'm a personal trainer for bacteria.

Past life and credentials

My background is in mechanical engineering and design, but not of things quite as small as bacteria.

Other research interests

  • Food microbiology
  • Microbiomes of the built environment
  • How bacteria move and live in cities
  • Engineering microbial stress tolerance
  • Relating stress tolerance to genetic loci
  • Resequencing evolved microbes
  • Scaling of engineered biology to industrial purposes
  • Design and use of replicating biological machines
  • Technologies/vocabularies to make biological engineering easier
  • Ethics and philosophy of science instruction for scientists/engineers
  • Biomimicry, bioscaffolds for material processing
  • Recycling/"cradle to cradle" design of biological systems
  • Usability of biological design software and equipment
  • Biomineralization


  • BE.400
  • BE.410
  • BE.420
  • BE.430
  • 5.95 Teaching College-Level Science and Engineering
  • 7.81 Systems Biology Excellent class, Alex van Oudenaarden
  • 18.085 Applied Math for Engineers with the indefatigable Gil Strang, who might have taught your parents and is still revising his book daily.
  • 7.56 Graduate Cell Biology, with an emphasis on yeast, Profs. Stephen Bell and Frank Solomon
  • 1.89 Environmental Microbiology with Martin Polz
  • OEB.192 Microbial Evolution with Chris Marx, a great subject that is not taught enough
  • directed evolution seminar

Past Projects

  • My first project at MIT was during the summer of 2005 when I tried the Orthogonal cloning of clpXP from E. coli into yeast. I was more successful at learning molecular biology techniques by making mistakes than at cloning into yeast. This work is continuing in someone else's more capable hands.