About the Project

TU Delft’s IMB section  is an international research group that currently harbours 20 PhD students, 5 postdocs and 10 different nationalities. Its infrastructure for controlled cultivation of micro-organisms includes 46 bioreactor set-ups, while its molecular facilities include MiSeq and MinION sequencing equipment, an Affymetrix microarray set-up and a fluorescence-activated cell sorter. Analysis of genome sequence data is done in close collaboration with the Delft Bioinformatics group. Recent highlights from IMB’s metabolic engineering research include the development of bakers’ yeast strains for production of bioethanol from pentose sugars (now commercialized by DSM), the functional expression of a pyruvate-dehydrogenase complex in the yeast cytosol and the successful implementation in yeast of Calvin-cycle enzymes, thereby strongly reducing formation of glycerol as a byproduct of anaerobic yeast cultures. IMB actively collaborates with international academic groups and with major fermentation industries, including DSM, Amyris and Heineken.

After graduating, I completed a 1-year internship at Ginkgo Bioworks Inc. in Boston (United States). There, I was part of a customer-facing program team with the final goal of improving an industrial E. coli strain for a proprietary process that is scaled to 600,000 Liters. During that experience, I got passionate about metabolic engineering and I decided to pursue my PhD in the field.

Research Interests


PhD candidate at the Industrial Microbiology Group, TU Delft. I graduated both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at University of Trento, Italy. As my first research experience, I had the opportunity to take part to the 2013 UNITN iGEM team and to develop an Ethylene producing E. coli. During my Master instead, I worked on the development of home-made Cell-Free Protein Synthesis systems in the Mansy Lab. During my studies, I obtained two scholarships that allowed me to spend three months at DESY (Hamburg, Germany), where I worked on microfluidic chips development and two months at Harvard Medical School (Boston, United States), where I engineered inducible promoters for Cyanobacteria.

Thomas Perli