Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue
Cong T. Trinh

Cong T. Trinh

Associate Professor



Cong T. Trinh received a BS degree in Chemical Engineering (with summa cum laude, honors thesis) at the University of Houston in 2003; a PhD degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2008; and a postdoctoral research training at the University of California, Berkeley in 2008. In 2011, Trinh started his academic career as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017 and is currently a Ferguson Faculty Fellow in Chemical Engineering.

Trinh has a broad research interests in the interdisciplinary areas of systems and synthetic biology, metabolic and biochemical engineering, and microbial cell physiology. His research is focused on fundamentally understanding complex cellular systems and developing novel experimental and computational tools to control these systems for biotechnological applications related to energy, food, health, and environment. One of his research thrusts is to develop the transformative technology, named MODCELL (Modular Cell), to engineer modular (chassis) cells for rapid development of novel microbial biocatalysts for industrial biotechnology. The other research thrust is to develop the transformative technology, named ViPaRe (Virulent Pathogen Resistance), to effectively combat rapidly evolving and resistant pathogens.


  • Inverse metabolic engineering; systems and synthetic biology
  • Metabolic network modeling; experimental metabolic flux quantification
  • Rational design and optimization of complex heterologous metabolic pathways using in-vivo and in-vitro systems
  • Cell physiology and advanced fermentation
  • Synthesis of advanced biofuels and biochemicals from biomass-derived feedstocks and biodiesel waste, glycerol by using robust and efficient engineered whole-cell biocatalysts


  • PhD, University of Minnesota; Chemical Engineering
  • BS, University of Houston; Chemical Engineering

Professional Service

  • Member, American Society of Chemical Engineering
  • Member, Society of Biological Engineering
  • Member, American Chemical Society
  • Member, Society of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology
  • Member, International Metabolic Engineering Society
  • Member, Tau Beta Pi, Engineering Honors Society
  • Member, Honor society of Phi Kappa Phi
  • Member, Omega Chi Epsilon, Honor Society of Chemical Engineering

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2019: DARPA Director's Fellowship
  • 2019: TCE Teaching Fellow Award
  • 2018: Chancellor Research & Creative Achievement/Professional Promise Award
  • 2018: TCE Profesional Promise in Research Award
  • 2017-present: Ferguson Faculty Fellow
  • 2017: DARPA Young Faculty Award
  • 2017: CBE Outstanding Teaching Award, UT
  • 2017: ASEE New Researcher Award
  • 2016: Thomas & Ruth Clark Chem Eng Excellence Award in Teaching, UT
  • 2016: CoE Professional Promise in Research Award, UT
  • 2016: NSF CAREER Award
  • 2014: Professional Development Award, UT
  • 2013-2015: Summer Pre-College Service Award, UT
  • 2014: CBE Outstanding Teaching Award, UT
  • 2010: Best Poster Award at Metabolic Eng VIII Conference, Republic of Korea
  • 2007: Best Poster Award at LifeScience Alley Conference and Expo, Minnesota
  • 1999-2003: Dean’s list, UH
  • 2001: University Scholars Program scholarship, UH
  • 2000: Cullen College of Engineering scholarship, UH
  • 1999-2001: Lubrizol scholarship, the University of Houston, UH


Visit Trinh's Google Scholar page.

  • Trinh, C.T., Huffer, S., Clark, M., Blanch, B., Clark, D., 2010. "Elucidating Mechanisms of Solvent Toxicity in ethanologenicEscherichia coli," Biotechnol Bioeng 106(5):721-730.
  • Unrean, P., Trinh, C.T., Srienc, F., 2010. "Rational design and construction of an efficient E. coli for production of diapolycopendioic acid," Metab Eng 12(2):112-122.
  • Jevremovic, D., Trinh, C.T., Srienc, F., Boley, D., 2010. "On Algebraic Properties of Extreme Pathways in Metabolic Networks," J Comp Biol 17(2):107-19.
  • Trinh, C.T., Srienc, F., 2009. "Metabolic Engineering of Escherichia colifor Efficient Conversion of Glycerol into Ethanol," Appl Environ Microbiol 75(21): 6696-6705.
  • Trinh, C.T., Wlaschin, A.P., Srienc, F., 2009. "Metabolic Pathway Analysis: A Useful Tool for Characterizing Cellular Metabolism," Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 81(5): 813-826.
  • Trinh, C.T., Unrean, P., Srienc, F., 2008. "A minimal Escherichia colicell for most efficient ethanol production from hexoses and pentoses," Appl Environ Microbiol 74: 3634-3643.
  • Trinh, C.T., Carlson, R., Wlaschin, A.P., Srienc, F., 2006. "Design, construction and performance of the most efficient biomass producing E. coli bacterium," Metab Eng 8: 628-638.
  • Wlaschin, A.P., Trinh, C.T., Carlson, R., Srienc, F., 2006. "The fractional contributions of elementary modes to the metabolism of E. coli and their estimation from reaction entropies." Metab Eng 8: 338-352.
Cong T. Trinh

Contact Information