Thomas Mansell

Thomas (Tom) Mansell


Associate Professor, Karen and Dennis Vaughn Faculty Fellow


4136 Biorenewables Research Laboratory
617 Bissell Rd.
Ames, IA 50011-1098



  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, 2004 (Second Major: Spanish)
  • M.S.E., Chemical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, 2005
  • Ph.D., Cornell University, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2011

Interest Areas

  • Synthetic biology for engineering microbial communities

Research Experience

Postdoctoral Research, University of Colorado, Boulder. Research summary, Synthetic biology for cellular circuits and chemical genomics: Using multiplex oligonucleotide synthesis, recombineering, and high-throughput sequencing, I am developing new library creation methods and selections for novel Tet repressor-nucleic acid pairs. These orthogonal repressors will be used to expand the complexity of cellular circuits for synthetic biology. Concurrently, I am studying the microbial ecology of antibiotic resistance using a genome-scale library and high-throughput sequencing combined with the QIIME (Quantitative Insights into Microbial Ecology) workflow.

Doctoral Research, Cornell University. Thesis title: A suite of tools for reporting and engineering protein folding, interactions, and post-translational modifications in the bacterial periplasm. I developed genetic selections which couple cell growth (via activity of TEM-1 β-lactamase) to protein folding and solubility, interactions, and N-linked glycosylation in the periplasmic space. Applications include engineering of these characteristics by directed evolution. I also created a genome-scale metabolic model of E. coli to account for engineered bacterial glycosylation. Masters Research, The Johns Hopkins University Essay Title: Kinetic and mutagenic characterization of an engineered allosteric enzyme. I created and kinetically characterized rationally designed variants of maltose-modulated molecular switches. I also performed both selections and secondary high-throughput screening to discover sucrose-modulated molecular switches evolved from the original maltose switches.


Rothstein SM*, Sen S*, Mansell TJ. Towards high-throughput genome engineering in lactic acid bacteria. Current Opinion in Biotechnology (invited review, accepted, in press)

Sen S, Mansell TJ. “Yeast as probiotics: Saccharomyces boulardii and beyond”, Fungal Genetics and Biology (in press, invited review) doi:10.1016/j.fgb.2020.103333

Enam F, Mansell TJ, Prebiotics: Tools to Manipulate the Gut Microbiome and Metabolome. doi:10.1007/s10295-019-02203-4

Zainuddin H, Bai Y, Mansell TJ. CRISPR-based curing and analysis of metabolic burden of cryptic plasmids in Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 doi: 10.1002/elsc.201900003

Wayman JA, Glasscock C, Mansell TJ, DeLisa MP, Varner J. Improving Designer Glycan Production in Escherichia coli through Model-Guided Metabolic Engineering. Metabolic Engineering Communications 9, e00088 (2019) doi: 1016/j.mec.2019.e00088

Enam F, Mansell, TJ. Analysis of Fucosylated Human Milk Trisaccharides in Biotechnological Context Using Genetically Encoded Biosensors.  Vis. Exp.(146), e59253, doi:10.3791/59253 (2019).

Dopp JL, Rothstein SM, Mansell TJ, Reuel NF. “Rapid Prototyping of Proteins: Mail Order Gene Fragments to Assayable Proteins Within 24 Hours” Biotechnology and Bioengineering 1 (2018) doi:10.1002/bit.26912

Enam F+, Mansell TJ@. Linkage-specific detection and metabolism of human milk oligosaccharides in Escherichia coli Cell Chemical Biology 25 (10), 1292-1303. e4 1 (2018) doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2018.06.002

Chen Y, Reinhardt M, Neris N, Kerns L, Mansell TJ, Jarboe LR. Lessons in membrane engineering for octanoic acid production from environmental Escherichia coli isolates Environ. Microbiol. 84 (19), e01285-18 (2018)

TJ Mansell*, SJ Weiss*, P Mortazavi, R Knight, RT Gill. Parallel mapping of cryptic and multi-drug antibiotic resistance alleles in Escherichia coli (in revision, PLOS ONE) * Authors contributed equally M-P Robinson, N Ke,

J Lobstein, TJ Mansell, C Tuckey, P Riggs, P Colussi, C Noren, C Taron, MP DeLisa and M Berkmen. Bypassing membranes: exceptional expression of functional IgGs in the cytoplasm of engineered Escherichia coli. (in revision at Nature Communications)

RI Zeitoun, AD Garst, GD Degen, G Pines, TJ Mansell, TY Glebes, NR Boyle, RT Gill. “Multiplexed Tracking of the Evolutionary Trajectory of Combinatorial Genome Engineered Populations,” Nature Biotechnology (in press) TJ Mansell, C Guarino, MP DeLisa. (2013) Engineered genetic selection links in vivo protein folding and stability with asparagine‐linked glycosylation. Biotechnology Journal 8(12), 1445-1451. [Featured commentary by Danielle Tullman-Ercek pp.1377-1378]

TJ Mansell, JR Warner, RT Gill. (2013) “Trackable Multiplex Recombineering for Gene-Trait Mapping in E. coli.” Methods in Molecular Biology 985:223-246 E Çelik, AC Fisher, C Guarino, TJ Mansell, MP DeLisa. (2010) A filamentous phage display system for N-linked glycoproteins. Protein Science 19(10), 2006-13.

TJ Mansell, SW Linderman, AC Fisher, MP DeLisa. (2010) A rapid protein folding assay for the bacterial periplasm. Protein Science 19(5),1079 – 90.

HK Lim, TJ Mansell, SW Linderman, AC Fisher, MR Dyson, MP DeLisa. (2009) Mining mammalian genomes for folding competent proteins using Tat-dependent genetic selection in Escherichia coli. Protein Science 18(12), 2537-49. RJ Conrado, TJ Mansell, MP DeLisa. (2009) “Engineering multifunctional enzyme systems for optimized metabolite transfer between sequential conversion steps” in The Metabolic Pathway Engineering Handbook. Edited by CD Smolke: CRC Press

TJ Mansell, AC Fisher, MP DeLisa. (2008) Engineering the protein folding landscape in gram-negative bacteria. Current Protein and Peptide Science, 9(2),138-49. (invited review) AC Fisher, TJ Mansell, MP DeLisa. (2008) “Protein Folding and Solubility: Pathways and High-Throughput Assays” in Protein Engineering Handbook. Edited by S Lutz and UT Bornscheuer: Wiley-VCH

RJ Conrado, TJ Mansell, JD Varner, MP DeLisa. (2007) Stochastic reaction-diffusion simulation of enzyme compartmentalization reveals improved catalytic efficiency for a synthetic metabolic pathway. Metabolic Engineering, 9, 355-363. [Featured on the cover]

J Liang, JR Kim, JT Boock, TJ Mansell and M Ostermeier. (2007) Ligand binding and allostery can emerge simultaneously. Protein Science 16, 929-937.

G Guntas, TJ Mansell, JR Kim, and M Ostermeier. (2005) Directed evolution of protein switches and their application to the creation of ligand-binding proteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102, 11224-11229.