Brett Boghigian

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Giving a talk at Tufts in the spring of 2009
Giving a talk at Tufts in the spring of 2009


Contact Information

In April 2011, Brett joined the founding team as the third scientific hire of Pronutria (formerly known as Essentient, Inc.) a company in Cambridge, MA founded and funded by Flagship Ventures to transform global nutrition.


  • 2010 - Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Tufts University
    • Thesis: "Multi-scale engineering and modeling of heterologous natural product biosynthesis in Escherichia coli" (384pp)
    • Adviser: Professor Blaine A. Pfeifer
  • 2007 - B.S. Chemical Engineering (philosophy minor), Tufts University

Research Interests

My research and academic interests are in: metabolic engineering, natural products, molecular biology, computational systems biology, analytical proteomics and metabolomics, bioreactor engineering, and protein purification. Although they are not topics of my research, I am interested in the philosophy of molecular biology and evolution, as well as alternative fuel technology.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

(* indicates co-first author. indicates undergraduate author)

  • Boghigian BA, Armando J, Salas DF, Pfeifer BA. Computational identification of gene over-expression targets for metabolic engineering. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Mar;93(5):2063-73. (Link)
  • Boghigian BA, Salas DF, Ajikumar PK, Stephanopoulos G, Pfeifer BA. Analysis of heterologous taxadiene production in K- and B-derived Escherichia coli. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Feb;93(4):1651-61. (Link)
  • Armando J, Boghigian BA, Pfeifer BA. LC-MS/MS quantification of short-chain acyl-CoA's in Escherichia coli demonstrates versatile propionyl-CoA synthetase substrate specificity. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2012 Feb;54(2):140-8. (Link)
  • Boghigian BA*, Myint M*, Wu J, Pfeifer BA. Simultaneous production and partitioning of heterologous polyketide and isoprenoid natural products in an Escherichia coli two-phase bioprocess. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011 Nov;38(11):1809-20. (Link)
  • Boghigian BA, Zhang H, Pfeifer BA. Multi-factorial engineering of heterologous polyketide production in Escherichia coli reveals complex pathway interactions. Biotechnol Bioeng. 2011 Jun;108(6):1360-71. (Link)
  • Zhang H, Boghigian BA, Armando J, Pfeifer BA. Methods and options for the heterologous production of complex natural products. Nat Prod Rep. 2011 Jan 17;28(1):125-51. (Link)
  • Wu J, Boghigian BA, Myint M, Zhang H, Zhang S, Pfeifer BA. Construction and performance of heterologous polyketide producing K-12- and B-derived Escherichia coli. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2010 Aug;51(2):196-204. (PubMed)
  • Boghigian BA, Shi H, Lee K, Pfeifer BA. Utilizing elementary mode analysis, pathway thermodynamics, and a genetic algorithm for metabolic flux determination and optimal metabolic network design. BMC Syst Biol. 2010 Apr 23;4(1):49. (PubMed) "Highly Accessed" status
  • Boghigian BA, Seth G, Kiss R, Pfeifer BA. Metabolic flux analysis and pharmaceutical production. Metab Eng. 2010 Mar;12(2):81-95. (PubMed) "Most Downloaded" status
  • Zhang H, Boghigian BA, Pfeifer BA. Investigating the role of native propionyl-CoA and methylmalonyl-CoA metabolism on heterologous polyketide production in Escherichia coli. Biotechnol Bioeng. 2010 Feb 15;105(3):567-73. (PubMed)
  • Boghigian BA, Lee K, Pfeifer BA. Computational analysis of phenotypic space in heterologous polyketide biosynthesis – applications to Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. J Theor Biol. 2010 Jan 21;262(2):197-207. (PubMed)
  • Zhang H, Wang Y, Boghigian BA, Pfeifer BA. Probing the heterologous metabolism supporting 6-deoxyerythronolide B biosynthesis in E. coli. Microbial Biotechnol. 2009 May;2(3):390-4. (Link)
  • Boghigian BA, Pfeifer BA. Current status, strategies, and potential for the metabolic engineering of heterologous polyketides in Escherichia coli. Biotechnol Lett. 2008 Aug;30(8):1323-30. Review. (PubMed)
  • Wang Y*, Boghigian BA*, Pfeifer BA. Improving heterologous polyketide production in Escherichia coli by overexpression of an S-adenosylmethionine synthetase gene. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2007 Nov;77(2):367-73. (PubMed)
  • Scrivener E, Boghigian BA, Golenko E, Bogdanova A, Jackson P, Mikulskis A, Denoyer E, Courtney P, Lopez MF, Patton WF. Performance validation of an improved Xenon-arc lamp-based CCD camera system for multispectral imaging in proteomics. Proteomics. 2005 Nov;5(17):4354-66. (PubMed)

Conference Presentations

  • Boghigian BA, Pfeifer BA. Multi-scale engineering of heterologous polyketide and isoprenoid natural products in Escherichia coli. SIM Annual Meeting (San Francisco, CA). 2010.
  • Boghigian BA, Wang Y, Salas D, Stephanopoulos G, Pfeifer BA. Multi-scale engineering of a Taxol® precursor in Escherichia coli. AIChE Annual Meeting (Nashville, TN). 2009.
  • Boghigian BA, Wang Y, Pistorino M, Pfeifer BA. Multiple approaches to improving heterologous polyketide production from E. coli. Metabolic Engineering VII (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico). 2008.
  • Boghigian BA, Wang Y, Lee K, Pfeifer BA. Improving heterologous polyketide production in Escherichia coli through signal pathway engineering and metabolic modeling. Boston Bacteriology Meeting (Cambridge, MA). 2008.
  • Boghigian BA, Wang Y, Pfeifer BA. A closer look at E. coli-derived 6-deoxyerythronolide B biosynthesis. AIChE Annual Meeting (San Francisco, CA). 2006.
  • Wang Y, Boghigian BA, Shi G, Zhang H, Lavoie JR, Pfeifer BA. Enhancing polyketide production in E. coli by the accumulating of intracellular S-adenosylmethionine. Boston Bacterial Meeting (Cambridge, MA). 2006.
  • Stehmann C, Boghigian BA, Golenko E, Scrivener E, Patton WF, Lopez MF. A xenon-arc lamp-based charge-coupled device (CCD) camera system for multispectral imaging in proteomics. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2004 Oct;3(10):S301. HUPO 3rd Annual World Congress (Beijing, China). 2004.


  • 2009 – Outstanding Graduate Contributor to Engineering Education Award, Tufts University School of Engineering
  • 2008 – Best Teaching Assistant Award, Tufts University Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering
  • 2007 – Best Presentation Award, Tufts University Undergraduate Research Symposium
  • 2006 – Outstanding Chemical Engineering Student at Tufts University, Boston Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Work Experience

Teaching Experience

(all at Tufts University)

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