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Eric Klavins

Professor and Chair
Biosystems, Robotics and Controls
394 NanoES
Campus Box 352500
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Phone: 206-221-5270
Research Web Page: Klavins Lab


Eric Klavins is the Professor and Chair of the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department at the University of Washington in Seattle. He received a B.M. in Music in 1992 and a B.S. in computer science in 1996 from San Francisco State University. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science and engineering in 1999 and 2001 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. From 2001 to 2003 he was a postdoctoral scholar in the Control and Dynamical Systems Department at the California Institute of Technology where he worked with Richard Murray. In 2003 Eric was hired in Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle; he received tenure in 2009. He holds adjunct appointments in Computer Science and Engineering and in Bioengineering.

Until approximately 2008, Klavins’ research was primarily in computer science and control systems, focusing on stochastic processes, robotics and self-assembly. At about this time, he learned the basics of genetic engineering. In the next few years he switched fields to synthetic biology and now runs an interdisciplinary group of engineers, biologists, experimentalists, and theorists — all focused on engineering life. His current projects include synthetic multicellular systems with engineered bacteria and yeast, modeling and design for synthetic multicellular systems, and laboratory automation.

Awards and Honors

Research Projects

  • Genetic circuits in micro-organisms and plants.
  • Synthetic multicellular consortia.
  • Protein engineering with machine learning.
  • Laboratory automation.

Recent Publications

  • J.D. Vrana, N. Panpradist, N. Higa, D. Ko, P. Ruth, R. Kanthula, J.J. Lai, Y. Yang, S.R. Sakr, B. Chohan, M.H. Chung, L.M. Frenkel, B.R. Lutz, E. Klavins, I.A. Beck, Implementation of an interactive mobile application to pilot a rapid assay to detect HIV drug resistance mutations in Kenya, 2022.
  • A. Carignano, D.H. Chen, C. Mallory, C. Wright, G. Seelig, and E. Klavins, Modular, robust and extendible multicellular circuit design in yeast, 2022.
  • J. Vrana, O. de Lange, Y. Yang, G. Newman, A. Saleem, Ayesha, A. Miller, C. Cordray, Cameron, S. Halabiya, M. Parks, E. Lopez, S. Goldberg, B. Keller, D. Strickland, Devin and E. Klavins, Aquarium: open-source laboratory software for design, execution and data managementOxford Synthetic Biology. 2021
  • A. Hossain, E. Lopez, S. M. Halper, D. P. Cetnar, A. C. Reis, D. Strickland, E. Klavins, and H. M. Salis, Automated design of thousands of nonrepetitive parts for engineering stable genetic systemsNature Biotechnology. 2020. 
  • J. Maguire, H. Haddox, D. Strickland, S. Halabiya, B. Coventry, M. Cummins, D. Thieker, E. Klavins, F. DiMaio, D. Baker, and B. Kuhlman, Perturbing the energy landscape for improved packing during computational protein designProteins. 2020.
  • N. Panpradist, I. A. Beck,, J. Vrana, N. Higa, D. McIntyre, P. S. Ruth, I. So, E.C. Kline, R. Kanthula, Annie Wong-On-Wing, J. Lim, D. Ko, R. Milne, T. Rossou, U. D. Feuch, M. Chung, G. Jourdain, N. Ngo-Giang-Huong, L. Laomanit, J. Sori, J. Lai, E. Klavins, L. M. Frenkel and B. R. Lutz, OLA-Simple: A software-guided HIV-1 drug resistance test for low-resource laboratoriesEBioMedicine. 2019.
  • Y. Yang, J. L. Nemhauser, and E. Klavins, Synthetic Bistability and Differentiation in YeastACS Synthetic Biology. 2019. 
  • A. Khakhar, A. R Leydon, A. C. Lemmex, E. Klavins, and J. L. Nemhauser, Synthetic hormone-responsive transcription factors can monitor and re-program plant developmenteLIFE. 2018.
  • D. A. Younger, S. Berger, D. Baker and E. Klavins, High-Throughput Characterization of Protein-Protein Interactions by Reprogramming Yeast MatingProceedings of the National Academy of Science. 2017.
  • O. de Lange, E. Klavins, and J. Nemhauser, Synthetic genetic circuits in crop plantsCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology. Vol. 49. pp. 16-22. 2017. 
  • M. Gander, J. Vrana, W. Voje, J. Carothers, and E. Klavins, Digital logic circuits in yeast with CRISPR/dCas9 NOR gatesNature Communications. 2017.
  • A. Khakhar, N. Bolten, J. Nemhauser, and E. Klavins, Cell-cell communication in yeast using auxin biosynthesis and auxin responsive CRISPR transcription factorsACS Synthetic Biology. pp. DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.5b00064. 2015.
  • E. Pierre-Jerome* S. S. Jang*, K. A. Havens, J. L. Nemhauser and E. Klavins, Recapitulation of the forward nuclear auxin response pathway in yeastProceedings of the National Academy of Science. 2014.

See for a complete list.