Jessica Stark

Making synthetic biology sweeter

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineer

Jessica Stark head shot

Inexpensive and efficient technologies to produce recombinant proteins have enabled the use of proteins as therapeutics to treat complex diseases such as cancer. Cell-free protein synthesis is a novel biomanufacturing strategy that uses cell lysates, or the molecules inside a cell, to carry out protein synthesis in vitro. The cell-free approach allows for more rapid and efficient conversion of substrates to protein products by removing the need to maintain cell viability and enables precise control of reaction conditions not possible in living cells. My research is focused on enabling glycosylation, an important post-translational modification required for over 70% of protein therapeutics approved or in development, in this cell-free system. I am interested in using this technology to study the enzymes that carry out glycosylation and to produce glycosylated protein therapeutics. My work promises to enable the rapid production of proteins with customizable glycosylation for use as novel medicines or vaccines.

Connect with Me

Glycosylated protein production

Postdoc, Stanford University


Research Adviser: Prof. Carolyn Bertozzi


Ph.D., Northwestern University

Chemical & Biological Engineering

Research Adviser: Prof. Michael Jewett


Management Certificate, Northwestern University

Kellogg School of Management


B.S., Cornell University

Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, cum laude

Research Adviser: Prof. Matthew DeLisa


Jewett Lab at Northwestern University

Northwestern University Chemical Engineering Distinguished Graduate Researcher Award


National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow


National Institute of Health Biotechnology Training Program Fellow


The Henry Luce Foundation Clare Boothe Luce Graduate Fellow, awarded by the Society of Women Engineers


Irwin and Joan Jacobs Engineering Scholar


Silverman Hall at Northwestern University

Genentech, Inc.

gRED Infectious Diseases

May 2013-Aug 2013

Early Stage Pharmaceutical Development

May 2012-Apr 2013

Analytical Operations

May 2011-Aug 2011

NIH ARRA Research Experience for Undergraduates

University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Pharmacy

May 2010-Aug 2010

Spies Research Group

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Biochemistry

Aug 2007-Aug 2009