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Anna Duraj-Thatte

Assistant Professor
  • Research areas: Engineered Living Materials, Synthetic Biology, Biomaterials, Therapeutics

Ph.D., Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2012

M.S., Molecular and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland 2006                                                                       

B.S., Molecular and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland 2006


Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA (2021-present)

Co-founder Tantu Therapeutics Inc., Boston, MA (2020-present)

Research Affiliate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, MA (2020-2021)

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, MA (2013-2020)

Selected Major Awards

Grand Prize Winner of American National Science Foundation (NSF) Idea Machine Competition (2020)

Program Focus

In my research group, we work in the emerging and exciting field of Engineered Living Materials, wherein we integrate synthetic biology, bioengineering, nanotechnology, protein engineering, sustainability and materials engineering to develop SMART Living Materials that are Self-regenerative, Multifunctional, Adaptive, Responsive and Therapeutic. We employ synthetic biology principles to engineer microbes to produce materials on demand with desired physical, chemical, and biological properties. Our ultimate goal is to utilize microbes as factories to produce new and advanced sustainable materials in a large scale for various biotechnological and biomedical applications. We are also committed to developing smart materials for the treatment of chronic and life-threatening health conditions that cannot be addressed effectively with traditional approaches.

Selected Journals

  • Duraj-Thatte A, Avinash MB, Hassan S, Sourlis A, Xia J, Lesha A, Rubio AG, Rutledge J, Zhang SY, Joshi NS “Programmable Microbial Ink for 3D Printing of Living Materials” Nature Communications, 2021,12,6600
  • Duraj-Thatte A, Avinash MB, Dorval Courchesne NM, Cannici G, Sánchez-Ferrer A, Frank BP, van 't Hag L, Fairbrother DH, Mezzenga R, Joshi NS “Water-Processable, Biodegradable and Coatable Aquaplastic from Engineered Microbial Biofilms”, Nature Chemical Biology, 2021 17 (6), 732-738
  • Avinash MB, Duraj-Thatte A, Joshi NS, “Robust Self-regeneratable Stiff Living Material”, Advanced Functional Materials, 2021 31 (19), 2010784
  • Duraj-Thatte A, Dorval Courchesne NM, Praveschotinunt P, Rutledge J, Lee Y, Karp JM, Joshi NS “Genetically programmable self-regenerating bacterial hydrogels” Advanced Materials 2019, 31(40), 1901826
  • Praveschotinunt P, Duraj-Thatte A, Gelfat I, Bahl F, Chou DB, Joshi NS “Engineered E. coli Nissle 1917 for the delivery of matrix-tethered therapeutic domains to the gut” Nature Communications 2019,10,5580