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Fei Wen | Faculty

Short Bio


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
PhD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering '10
MS CHE '06

Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
BS '03


  • Dow Corning Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, 2014-2016
  • Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering Department (2012-present)


  • Postdoctoral Research, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University (2010-2012)

Research Interests

Understanding, monitoring, and modulating T cell function. T cells play pivotal roles in human adaptive immune response and have been implicated in a wide array of diseases, such as autoimmunity, allergy, cancer, and infectious diseases, as well as vaccine design and evaluation. The research goal is to harness the immunological power of T cells to fight cancer and infections and to control their undesired behaviors associated with autoimmunity and allergy. To achieve this goal, my group focuses on developing molecular engineering tools, such as protein-based nanoparticles, multiplexed T cell functional marker biosensor, and synthetic gene/antigen delivery viral particles.

Producing sustainable biofuels using engineered microbes. My group is also interested in engineering microbes that are capable of converting lignocellulosic biomass to alternative biofuels, such as ethanol. The focus here is biomass-degrading enzyme activity engineering with the aim of identifying protein mutants that could break down biomass efficiently. Meanwhile, microbial metabolic engineering is employed with the aim of improving the biofuel yield and titer.


Courses Taught

  • ChE 342 - Mass and Heat Transfer
  • ChE460 Chemical Engineering Laboratory II
  • ChE496/696 Industrial & Therapeutic Biomolecular Engineering

Honors & Awards

  • CAREER Award, Directorate for Engineering, NSF, 2017
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, UM institutional nominee, 2017
  • Frontiers of Engineering Education, invitee, NAE, 2016
  • Provost's 2016 Teaching Innovation Prize (TIP), University of Michigan
  • Dow Corning Assistant Professorship, 2014
  • Hanratty Travel Award, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, UIUC. 2009
  • Second place for poster presentation, 5th Annual Graduate Research Symposium, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, UIUC. 2006
  • Student Travel Award, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, UIUC. 2006
  • Outstanding Student Scholarship, Tsinghua University. 2002
  • Leader of Excellent Summer Internship Group, Tsinghua University. 2001
  • Toshiba Scholarship, Tsinghua University. 2001
  • Outstanding Student Scholarship, Tsinghua University. 2001
  • Changxing Scholarship, Tsinghua University. 2000


Selected Publications

See full list of publications

Fei Wen, Huimin Zhao. Construction and Screening of An Antigen-derived Peptide Library Displayed on Yeast Cell Surface for CD4+ T Cell Epitope Identification. In Methods in Molecular Biology. 2013,1061:245-64. (PMID: 23963942)

Jie Sun, Fei Wen, Tong Si, Jianhe Xu, Huimin Zhao. Direct Conversion of Xylan to Ethanol by Recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae Strains Displaying an Engineered Mini-hemicellulosome. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2012 2012, 78(11): 3837-45. (PMID: 22447594)

Jie Sun, Zengyi Shao, Hua Zhao, Nikhil Nair, Fei Wen, Jianhe Xu, Huimin Zhao. Cloning and Characterization of a Panel of Constitutive Promoters for Applications in Pathway Engineering in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 2012, 109(8): 2082-92. (PMID: 22383307)

Fei Wen, Dhruv Sethi, Kai Wucherpfennig, Huimin Zhao. Cell surface display of functional human MHC class II proteins: yeast display versus insect cell display. Protein Engineering, Design, and Selection, 2011, 24(9): 701-9

Fei Wen, Jie Sun, Huimin Zhao. Yeast Surface Display of Trifunctional Minicellulosomes for Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation of Cellulose to Ethanol. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2010, 76(4):1251-60.

Zhilei Chen, Fei Wen, Ning Sun, Huimin Zhao. Directed Evolution of Homing Endonuclease I-SceI with Altered Sequence Specificity. Protein Engineering, Design, and Selection, 2009, 22(4):249-56.

Fei Wen, Olga Esteban, Huimin Zhao. Rapid Identification of CD4+ T-cell Epitopes Using Yeast Displaying Pathogen-derived Peptide Library. Journal of Immunological Methods, 2008, 336(1):37-44.

Huimin Yu, Yue Shi, Zhuoling Tian, Fei Wen, Zhongyao, Shen. Heterogenous Expression of Nitrile Hydratase Gene of Nocardia sp. in Recombinant Pichia pastoris. Acta Microbiologica Sinica. 2005, 45 (6): 959-962.

Fei Wen, Nikhil U. Nair, Huimin Zhao. Protein Engineering in Designing Tailored Enzymes and Microorganisms for Biofuels Production. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 2009, 20 (4):412-9.

Book Chapters

Fei Wen, Sheryl Rubin-Pitel, Huimin Zhao. Engineering of Therapeutic Proteins. In Protein Engineering and Design, Sheldon J. Park and Jennifer R. Cochran., CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, FL. 2009, pp. 153-177.

Fei Wen, Michael McLachlan, Huimin Zhao. Directed Evolution, Novel and Improved Enzymes through. In Wiley Encyclopedia of Chemical Biology, Tadhg P. Begley, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, NJ. 2008, doi:10.1002/9780470048672.wecb125.