Optogenetics Illuminates Applications in Microbial Engineering

Shannon M. Hoffman, Allison Y. Tang, José L. Avalos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Optogenetics has been used in a variety of microbial engineering applications, such as chemical and protein production, studies of cell physiology, and engineered microbe-host interactions. These diverse applications benefit from the precise spatiotemporal control that light affords, as well as its tunability, reversibility, and orthogonality. This combination of unique capabilities has enabled a surge of studies in recent years investigating complex biological systems with completely new approaches. We briefly describe the optogenetic tools that have been developed for microbial engineering, emphasizing the scientific advancements that they have enabled. In particular, we focus on the unique benefits and applications of implementing optogenetic control, from bacterial therapeutics to cybergenetics. Finally, we discuss future research directions, with special attention given to the development of orthogonal multichromatic controls. With an abundance of advantages offered by optogenetics, the future is bright in microbial engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-403
Number of pages31
JournalAnnual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry


  • cybergenetics
  • dynamic control
  • metabolic engineering
  • microbial engineering
  • optogenetics


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