119 Maryland Hall
Research Areas
Protein engineering
Protein evolution
Synthetic biology

Marc Ostermeier, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is known for his work in protein engineering, synthetic biology, and protein evolution. A former vice-chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and director of the graduate program, Ostermeier is a faculty member of Johns Hopkins’ Chemistry-Biology Interface Program and the Program in Molecular Biophysics.

His research group seeks insight into the principles of natural evolution and the ability to design novel proteins and cells using directed evolution. One type of novel proteins he builds are switches that establish connections between cellular components with no previous relationship. This can result in novel cellular circuitry and behavior, establishing connections between molecular signatures of disease and functions to treat the disease. His team has created a protein switch that instructs cancer cells to produce their own anti-cancer drug. Lab tests demonstrated that these switches, working from inside the cells, activate a powerful cell-killing drug when the switch detects a marker linked to cancer.

A Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, Ostermeier is a recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and a member of the editorial review board for the journal Protein Engineering Design and Selection. He holds seven patents for his work.

Ostermeier received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1990, and a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996. He then was an NIH postdoctoral fellow in the Chemistry Department at Pennsylvania State University before joining the Whiting School of Engineering faculty in 2000.