Contact Information

Office: MBB: 3.448B
Phone: 512-232-3424

Andrew Ellington

Professor, Faculty
Wilson and Kathryn Fraser Research Professorship in Biochemistry

Research Group

Ellington Lab


BS, Michigan State University, 1981
PhD, Harvard University, 1988


Center for Systems & Synthetic Biology; Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics; Center for Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology; IGERT: Optical Biomedical Engineering; Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology; Texas Materials Institute; Freshman Research Initiative; Texas Institute for Drug and Diagnostic Development

Lab Goals

The Ellington lab is attempting to develop novel synthetic organisms based on altering the translation apparatus and developing modular nucleic acid software.  Translation engineering centers on the introduction of novel amino acids into proteins that have the capability to base-pair, and is being pursued using a variety of techniques, including directed evolution, computational design, and high-throughput synthesis.  This latter capacity is abetted by a Gene Synthesis Facility capable of producing multiple kilobases of DNA per week.  In parallel, DNA circuits based on strand exchange reactions and capable of executing embedded algorithms are being developed, using tools such as aptamers and DNA nanotechnology.  The first application of these circuits will be in point-of-care diagnostics, but eventually these circuits should form the basis of a new, modular cellular operating system.  We anticipate this operating system should also prove useful in cell-to-cell communication and drug delivery in organisms, and are actively pursuing in vivo studies.  In order to enhance both engineering translation and installing DNA circuitry into cells, we have developed tools to directly synthesize operons, enable facile horizontal transfer, and edit genomes, and are interested in how such tools can be used to engineer cellular consortiums, including biofilms.

Representative Publications

Chen, X.  and A.D. Ellington. (2010) Shaping up nucleic acid computation. Curr Opin Biotech. 2010 Aug.; 21(4):392-400. PMID: 20538451 In Press.

Reddy, S.T., Ge, X., Miklos, A.E., Hughes, R.A., Kang, S.H., Hoi, K.H., Chrysostomou, C., Hunicke-Smith, S.P., Iverson, B.L., Tucker, P.W., Ellington, A.D., Georgiou, G. Monoclonal antibodies isolated without screening by analyzing the variable-gene repertoire of plasma cells. Nat. Biotech. 2010 Sept.;28(9):965-9. PMID: 20802495

Wan, Y., Kim, YT., Li, N., Cho, S.K., Bachoo, R., Ellington, A.D., and S.M. Iqbal. (2010) Surface Immobilized Aptamers for Cancer Cell Isolation and Microscopic Cytology. Can Research. 2010 Nov.; 70(22): 9371-80. PMID: 21062984

Hughes, R. and A.D. Ellington.(2010) Rational Design of an Orthogonal Tryptophanyl Nonsense Suppressor tRNA. NAR. 2010 Oct.; 38(19):6813-30. PMID: 20571084