Wei Niu

Contact Information:

City Campus (Lincoln)
(402) 472-5348

Associate Professor

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. Bioorganic Chemistry, Michigan State University
  • M.S., Biophysics, Tsinghua University
  • B.S., Chemistry, Tsinghua University


  • PhD

Current Job Openings

  • Graduate students.


  • 2021-present    Associate Professor, Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, UNL.
    • 2015-2020        Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, UNL.
    • 2010-2015         Research Assistant Professor, Department of Chemsitry, UNL.
    • 2005-2007        Senior Research Scientist, Biotechnology Development Center, Cargill Inc (http://www.cargill.com).

    Areas of Research and Professional Interest

    • Apply metabolic engineering principles and synthetic biology tools to the microbial synthesis of industrial or other value-added chemicals from renewable feedstocks.

    • Develop new enzyme catalysts and auxiliary functional proteins for efficient and green synthesis of pharmaceutical precursors and energy molecules.


    • National Science Fundation, CBET-1805528

    Selected Publications

    • 1. Niu, W.*; Willett, H.; Mueller, J.; He, X.; Ma, B.; Guo, J. “Direct biosynthesis of adipic acid from lignin-derived aromatics using engineered Pseudomonas putida KT2440” Metabolic Engineering 2020, 59, 151-161.

    • 2. Wang, N.; Shang, X.; Cerny, R.; Niu, W.*; Guo, J.* "Systematic Evolution and Study of UAGN Decoding tRNAs in a Genomically Recoded Bacteria" Scientific Reports 2016, 6, 21898.

    • 3. Niu, W.*; Guo, J.* “Stereospecific Microbial Conversion of Lactic Acid into 1,2-Propanediol” ACS Synth. Biol. 2015, 4, 378-382.

    • 4. Wang, N.; Ju, T.; Niu, W.; Guo, J.  “Fine-tuning Interaction between Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetase and tRNA for Efficient Synthesis of Proteins Containing Unnatural Amino Acids” ACS Synth. Biol. 2015,4, 207-212.

    • 5. Niu, W.; Schultz, P. G.; Guo, J. “An Expanded Genetic Code In Mammalian Cells With a Functional Quadruplet Codon” ACS Chem. Biol. 2013, 8, 1640-1645. (This article was ranked as second most read article in May; podcast interview with the journal)

    • 6. Yim, H.*; Haselbeck, R.*; Niu, W.*; Pujol-Baxley, C.*; Burgard, A.*; Boldt, J.; Khandurina, J.; Trawick, J. D.; Osterhout, R. E.; Stephen, R.; Estadilla, J.; Teisan, S.; Schreyer, H. B.; Andrae, S.; Yang, T. H.; Lee, S. Y.; Burk, M. J.; Van Dien, S. “Metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli for direct production of 1,4-butanediol” Nat. Chem. Biol. 2011, 7, 445-452.  (* co-first authors;  This work won the EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2011.)

    Recent Presentations

    • 249th ACS National Meeting, 2015, Denver, CO. "De novo biosynthesis of 1,2-propanediol from renewable feedstock through lactic acid."