Nathan Hillson

Dr. Nathan Hillson received his Doctorate in Biophysics from Harvard Medical School. He was a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University School of Medicine. Nathan is currently the Head of the BioDesign Department at the Biological Systems and Engineering Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is also a Principal Investigator at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Agile BioFoundry together with being the Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at TeslaGen Biotechnologies Inc. Dr. Hillson has developed experimental wetware, software, and automated laboratory devices. He had recently created PIACE, a highly efficient chromosomal integration method to engineer metabolic pathways in bacteria. Nathan also worked to develop the patented j5 DNA Assembly Software to create scar-less plasmids by combining designed DNA oligos and cloning strategies such as SLIC and Gibson. Dr. Hillson aims to create these automated platforms to standardize microbial engineering, DNA construction, and sequence validation.

Lab Information

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Research Area and Skills

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Synthetic Biology 3 DNA Construction 3 Bioinformatics 1 Software Development 1 Laboratory Automation 1

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Synthetic biology shows promise in areas as diverse as food and fuels. Nathan Hillson from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Joint BioEnergy Institute and his team recently published a paper in ACS Synthetic Biology titled, Parallel Integration and Chromosomal Expansion of ...Learn More


Dr. Nathan Hillson will discuss methods in flanking homology DNA assembly, including Gibson, In-Fusion, and yeast TAR assembly – amongst many other related methods. Current DNA assembly methods offer many advantages over traditional (multiple cloning site, ...Learn More


  1. Goyal, G., Costello, Z., Guitierrez, J., Kang, A., Lee, T.S., Martin, H.G., Hillson, N. (2018). Parallel Integration and Chromosomal Expansion of Metabolic Pathways. ACS Synthetic Biology, 7(11).

  2. Shih, S., Goyal, G., Kim, P., Koutsoubelis, N., Keasling, J., Adams, P., Hillson, N., Singh, A. (2015). A Versatile Microfluidic Device for Automating Synthetic Biology. ACS Synthetic Biology, 4(10).

  3. Rosengarten, R., Keasling, J., Hillson, N. (2012). j5 DNA Assembly Design Automation Software. ACS Synthetic Biology, 1(1).


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