Yo Suzuki is an Assistant Professor working in the Synthetic Biology group. Dr. Suzuki’s research is focused on systematic investigation of gene functions in various organisms. This includes studies of phenotypes involving inactivation or hyperactivation of multiple genes that can reveal novel gene functions. In some cases, these functions can be incorporated into microbial organisms through genome engineering to serve specific purposes in industrial or biomedical applications.

Prior to his appointment at JCVI, Dr. Suzuki was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. He began is career as a research associate with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Boulder, Colorado.  

He received his PhD from University of Colorado at Boulder in molecular biology. His undergraduate degree is from Nagoya University in Japan.

Research Priorities

Understanding cellular life
  • Systematic analysis of gene functions for all genes in the genome using conditional gene inactivation via CRISPRi in a minimal bacterial cell.
Engineering deep-skin microbiotas toward a treatment for type 1 diabetes
  • Construction of bacteria that can respond to rising blood glucose levels and produce a variant of insulin in a suitable layer of the skin to serve as a surrogate for the insulin-producing cell in the body.
  • Eventual development of a safe, non-invasive, non-immunoreactive, and fully automated system for glucose sensing and insulin administration.
Developing organisms for producing fuels and valuable compounds from biomass
  • Establishment of synthetic biology pipelines for designing, building, and testing organisms and other biological systems.
  • Application of advanced genome engineering technologies to the engineering of bacteria with the capacity to utilize aromatic compounds derived from lignin.
  • Identification of synergistic interactions among cellulases and incorporation of these interactions into designer cellulosomes for efficient release of sugar from biomass.
Using drug-sensitive yeast strains to rapidly identify mechanisms of action for drugs
  • Identification of candidate targets for antimalarials and anti-cancer compounds using whole genome sequencing in yeast strains that acquired mutations to resist these compounds.
  • Validation of causal mutations for the resistance phenotypes using genetic engineering.
  • Acceleration of the identification of compound targets in native organisms with information from facile yeast experiments.


Blockade of endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced cell death by Ureaplasma parvum vacuolating factor.
Cellular microbiology. 2021-12-01; 23.12: e13392.
PMID: 34490709
Biotechnology for secure biocontainment designs in an emerging bioeconomy.
Current opinion in biotechnology. 2021-10-01; 71.25-31.
PMID: 34091124
Highly Combinatorial Genetic Interaction Analysis Reveals a Multi-Drug Transporter Influence Network.
Cell systems. 2020-01-22; 10.1: 25-38.e10.
PMID: 31668799
Tuning Gene Activity by Inducible and Targeted Regulation of Gene Expression in Minimal Bacterial Cells.
ACS synthetic biology. 2018-06-15; 7.6: 1538-1552.
PMID: 29786424
The Human Microbiome and Cancer.
Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.). 2017-04-01; 10.4: 226-234.
PMID: 28096237
Van Voorhis WC, Adams JH, Adelfio R, Ahyong V, Akabas MH, Alano P, Alday A, Alemán Resto Y, Alsibaee A, Alzualde A, Andrews KT, Avery SV, Avery VM, Ayong L, Baker M, Baker S, Ben Mamoun C, Bhatia S, Bickle Q, Bounaadja L, Bowling T, Bosch J, Boucher LE, Boyom FF, Brea J, Brennan M, Burton A, Caffrey CR, Camarda G, Carrasquilla M, Carter D, Belen Cassera M, Chih-Chien Cheng K, Chindaudomsate W, Chubb A, Colon BL, Colón-López DD, Corbett Y, Crowther GJ, Cowan N, D'Alessandro S, Le Dang N, Delves M, DeRisi JL, Du AY, Duffy S, Abd El-Salam El-Sayed S, Ferdig MT, Fernández Robledo JA, Fidock DA, Florent I, Fokou PV, Galstian A, Gamo FJ, Gokool S, Gold B, Golub T, Goldgof GM, Guha R, Guiguemde WA, Gural N, Guy RK, Hansen MA, Hanson KK, Hemphill A, Hooft van Huijsduijnen R, Horii T, Horrocks P, Hughes TB, Huston C, Igarashi I, Ingram-Sieber K, Itoe MA, Jadhav A, Naranuntarat Jensen A, Jensen LT, Jiang RH, Kaiser A, Keiser J, Ketas T, Kicka S, Kim S, Kirk K, Kumar VP, Kyle DE, Lafuente MJ, Landfear S, Lee N, Lee S, Lehane AM, Li F, Little D, Liu L, Llinás M, Loza MI, Lubar A, Lucantoni L, Lucet I, Maes L, Mancama D, Mansour NR, March S, McGowan S, Medina Vera I, Meister S, Mercer L, Mestres J, Mfopa AN, Misra RN, Moon S, Moore JP, Morais Rodrigues da Costa F, Müller J, Muriana A, Nakazawa Hewitt S, Nare B, Nathan C, Narraidoo N, Nawaratna S, Ojo KK, Ortiz D, Panic G, Papadatos G, Parapini S, Patra K, Pham N, Prats S, Plouffe DM, Poulsen SA, Pradhan A, Quevedo C, Quinn RJ, Rice CA, Abdo Rizk M, Ruecker A, St Onge R, Salgado Ferreira R, Samra J, Robinett NG, Schlecht U, Schmitt M, Silva Villela F, Silvestrini F, Sinden R, Smith DA, Soldati T, Spitzmüller A, Stamm SM, Sullivan DJ, Sullivan W, Suresh S, Suzuki BM, Suzuki Y, Swamidass SJ, Taramelli D, Tchokouaha LR, Theron A, Thomas D, Tonissen KF, Townson S, Tripathi AK, Trofimov V, Udenze KO, Ullah I, Vallieres C, Vigil E, Vinetz JM, Voong Vinh P, Vu H, Watanabe NA, Weatherby K, White PM, Wilks AF, Winzeler EA, Wojcik E, Wree M, Wu W, Yokoyama N, Zollo PH, Abla N, Blasco B, Burrows J, Laleu B, Leroy D, Spangenberg T, Wells T, Willis PA
Open Source Drug Discovery with the Malaria Box Compound Collection for Neglected Diseases and Beyond.
PLoS pathogens. 2016-07-28; 12.7: e1005763.
PMID: 27467575
Comparative chemical genomics reveal that the spiroindolone antimalarial KAE609 (Cipargamin) is a P-type ATPase inhibitor.
Scientific reports. 2016-06-13; 6.27806.
PMID: 27291296
Correction for Joseph et al., Adaptation of pandemic H2N2 influenza A viruses in humans.
Journal of virology. 2015-04-01; 89.8: 4706.
PMID: 25792756
Bacterial genome reduction using the progressive clustering of deletions via yeast sexual cycling.
Genome research. 2015-03-01; 25.3: 435-44.
PMID: 25654978
Cloning Should Be Simple: Escherichia coli DH5α-Mediated Assembly of Multiple DNA Fragments with Short End Homologies.
PloS one. 2015-01-01; 10.9: e0137466.
PMID: 26348330
Genomic and transcriptomic analyses of colistin-resistant clinical isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae reveal multiple pathways of resistance.
Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy. 2015-01-01; 59.1: 536-43.
PMID: 25385117
Transferring whole genomes from bacteria to yeast spheroplasts using entire bacterial cells to reduce DNA shearing.
Nature protocols. 2014-04-01; 9.4: 743-50.
PMID: 24603933
Rescue of mutant fitness defects using in vitro reconstituted designer transposons in Mycoplasma mycoides.
Frontiers in microbiology. 2014-01-01; 5.369.
PMID: 25101070
Direct transfer of whole genomes from bacteria to yeast.
Nature methods. 2013-05-01; 10.5: 410-2.
PMID: 23542886
Assembly of large, high G+C bacterial DNA fragments in yeast.
ACS synthetic biology. 2012-07-20; 1.7: 267-73.
PMID: 23651249
Knocking out multigene redundancies via cycles of sexual assortment and fluorescence selection.
Nature methods. 2011-02-01; 8.2: 159-64.
PMID: 21217751
No More Needles! Using Microbiome and Synthetic Biology Advances to Better Treat Type 1 Diabetes