Joshua Atkinson

Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Omenn-Darling Bioengineering Institute
E330 Engineering Quad

PhD Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology, Rice University, Houston, TX, 2019

BS Microbiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2012

Honors, Awards, DISTINCTIONS
  • NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology - Integrative Research Investigating the Rules of Life (2020)
  • Best Presentation – International Society of Microbial Electrochemistry and Technology North American Meeting (2018)
  • Lodieska Stockbridge Vaughn Fellowship (2018)
  • DOE Office of Science Graduate Research Fellowship (2017)
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (2014)


Dr. Atkinson's research aims to use approaches from synthetic biology, protein engineering, biophysics and electrochemistry to understand and control how microbes and proteins transport electrons. The Atkinson Lab seeks to elucidate the critical role electron transport plays in energy and information processing in cells and microbial communities and to use this knowledge to engineer new biotechnologies that address societal challenges in sustainability, environmental monitoring & remediation, chemical synthesis, and resource recovery & extraction. Areas of current emphasis are the development and application of design rules for (i) how microorganisms use proteins to regulate electron transfer in metabolic networks, (ii) how electron flows shape the structure of microbial communities that impact geochemical cycles, and (iii) how living electronic materials can be built that couple the information processing and catalytic capabilities of biology with electrochemical devices.

Selected Publications