Nancy A. DaSilva

picture of Nancy A. DaSilva

Professor, Chemical Engineering & Materials Science
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering
Professor (Affiliate), Biomedical Engineering
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
M.S., California Institute of Technology

Phone: (949) 824-8288
Fax: (949) 824-2541

University of California, Irvine
944C Engineering Tower
Mail Code: 2575
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Molecular Biotechnology
Research Abstract
Dr. Da Silva's primary research focus is molecular biotechnology. Her research emphasizes molecular level design combined with subsequent application and analysis, and has focused on the important industrial yeasts: Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Bakers' yeast), Pichia pastoris, Kluyveromyces lactis, and Kluyveromyces marxianus.

A major research area is metabolic pathway engineering, including the development of improved methods and tools. Current applications range from engineering S. cerevisiae for the synthesis of polyketides (a very valuable class of pharmaceuticals) to the engineering of yeast for the enhanced uptake and sequestration of arsenic (an environmental application). There is also a strong emphasis on biorenewables in the Da Silva group, including two interdisciplinary projects related to biofuels, and one on the synthesis of biorenewable chemicals (part of CBiRC, an NSF Engineering Research Center at ISU). Another major research effort is a collaborative project on the synthesis of cell-responsive biopolymers in yeast.
Available Technologies
P.B. Besada-Lombana, T.L. McTaggart, N.A. Da Silva*. 2018. Molecular tools for pathway engineering in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 53:39-49.
R. Fernandez-Moya, N.A. Da Silva*. 2017. Minireview: Engineering Saccharomyces cerevisiae for high-level synthesis of fatty acids and derived products. FEMS Yeast Res. 17(7).
P.B. Besada-Lombana, R. Fernandez-Moya, J. Fenster, N.A. Da Silva*. 2017. Engineering Saccharomyces cerevisiae fatty acid composition for increased tolerance to octanoic acid. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 114, 1531-1538.
J. Cardenas, N.A. Da Silva*. 2016. Engineering cofactor and transport mechanisms in Saccharomyces cerevisiae for enhanced acetyl-CoA and polyketide biosynthesis. Metab. Eng. 36, 80-89.
C. Leber, J.W. Choi, B. Polson, N.A. Da Silva*. 2016. Disrupted short chain specific ß-oxidation and improved synthase expression increase synthesis of short chain fatty acids in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 113, 895-900.
R. Fernandez-Moya, C. Leber, J. Cardenas, N.A. Da Silva*. 2015. Functional replacement of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae fatty acid synthase with a bacterial type II system allows flexible product profiles. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 112, 2618-2623.
R.A. Que, S.W.P. Chan, A. Jabaiah, R.H. Lathrop, N.A. Da Silva*, S.-W. Wang*. 2015. Tuning cellular response by modular design of bioactive domains in collagen. Biomaterials. 53, 309-317.
L.P. Saunders, M.J. Bowman, J.A. Mertens, N.A. Da Silva, R.E. Hector*. 2015. Triacetic acid lactone production in industrial Saccharomyces yeast strains. J. Ind. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 42, 711-721.
C. Leber, B. Polson, R. Fernandez-Moya, N.A. Da Silva*. 2015. Overproduction and secretion of free fatty acids through disrupted neutral lipid recycle in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Metab. Eng. 28, 54-62.
T.J. Schwartz, R.L. Johnson, J. Cardenas, A. Okerlund, N.A. Da Silva, K. Schmidt-Rohr, J.A. Dumesic*. 2014. Engineering catalyst microenvironments for metal-catalyzed hydrogenation of biologically derived platform chemicals. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 53, 12718-12722.
R. Que, A. Mohraz, N.A. Da Silva*, S.-W. Wang*. 2014. Expanding functionality of recombinant human collagen through engineered non-native cysteines. Biomacromolecules. 15, 3540-3549.
J. Cardenas, N.A. Da Silva*. 2014. Metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the production of triacetic acid lactone. Metab. Eng. 25, 194-203.
J.W. Choi, N.A. Da Silva*. 2014. Improving polyketide and fatty acid biosynthesis by engineering of the yeast acetyl-CoA carboxylase. J. Biotechnol. 187, 56-59.
C. Leber, N.A. Da Silva*. 2014. Engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the synthesis of short chain fatty acids. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 111, 347-358.
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