Neel Joshi

Affiliated Faculty,  Bioengineering
Associate Professor,  Chemistry and Chemical Biology


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Research Focus

Engineered living materials, synthetic biology, biochemistry, protein self-assembly


Neel Joshi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Northeastern University, with an affiliate appointment in Bioengineering. He completed his PhD at UC Berkeley in the lab of Matt Francis and a postdoc at Boston University in the lab of Mark Grinstaff before starting his independent academic career at Harvard University and then moving to Northeastern in 2020. Prof. Joshi teaches courses in Chemical Biology and Biomaterials. He has published numerous papers in the fields of Engineered Living Materials, Synthetic Biology, and Biomaterials. He is also an inventor on several patents.


  • PhD, Chemistry, UC Berkeley
  • BS, Chemistry, Harvey Mudd College

Honors & Awards

  • Kavli Fellow (2016)
  • NSF Idea Machine 2026 Challenge – Grand Prize winner – “Engineered Living Materials”

Research Overview

Engineered living materials, synthetic biology, biochemistry, protein self-assembly

The Joshi Lab for Biologically Fabricated Materials

The Joshi Lab is broadly interested in topics related to biologically inspired materials, protein engineering, self-assembly, and biointerfaces. The group works at the intersection of biomaterials science and synthetic biology. Recent projects in the group have focused on repurposing bacterial biofilms and their matrix proteins for biotechnological and biomedical applications.

The intersection between synthetic biology and materials science is an underexplored area with great potential to positively affect our daily lives, with applications ranging from manufacturing to medicine. My group is interested in harnessing the biosynthetic potential of microbes, not only as factories for the production of raw materials, but as fabrication plants that can orchestrate the assembly of complex functional materials. We call this approach “biologically fabricated materials”, a process whose goal is to genetically program microbes to assemble materials from biomolecular building blocks without the need for time consuming and expensive purification protocols or specialized equipment. Accordingly, we have developed Biofilm Integrated Nanofiber Display (BIND), which relies on the biologically directed assembly of biofilm matrix proteins of the curli system in E. coli. We demonstrate that bacterial cells can be programmed to synthesize a range of functional materials with straightforward genetic engineering techniques. The resulting materials are highly customizable and easy to fabricate, and we are investigating their use for practical uses ranging from bioremediation to engineered therapeutic probiotics. Another project in the group focuses on fabricating bioplastics from engineered microbes producing customized curli fibers.

Joshi Lab for Biologically Fabricated Materials

Selected Research Projects

  • Investigating the Role of Natural and Engineered Curli Fibers in Mediating Interactions with the Gut Epithelium
    • – Principal Investigator, NIH R01
  • Scalable Platform for Materials Manufacture from Genetically Engineered Bacterial Biomass
    • – Principal Investigator, NSF, Division of Materials Research

Research Centers and Institutes

  • Center for Imaging in the Life Sciences (affiliate)

Selected Publications

  • D. Birnbaum, A. Kan, A. Manjula-Basavanna, N. S. Joshi “Biological fabrication of engineered cellulose capsules via bacterial co-culture” Advanced Science 2021, 2004699. DOI:10.1002/advs.202004699
  • Kan, I. Gelfat, S. Emani, P. Praveschotinunt, N. S. Joshi “Plasmid Vectors for in Vivo Selection-Free Use with the Probiotic E. coli Nissle 1917” ACS Synthetic Biology 2021, 10, 94-106.
  • Duraj-Thatte, A.M., Manjula-Basavanna, A., Dorval Courchesne, N.-M., Cannici, G.I., Sánchez-Ferrer, A., Frank, B.P., van’t Hag, L., Cotts, S.K., Fairbrother, D.H., Mezzenga, R., Joshi, N.S. (2021). Water-Processable, Biodegradable and Coatable Aquaplastic from Engineered Biofilms. Nature Chemical Biology, 17, 732-738. DOI:10.1038/s41589-021-00773-y
  • Praveschotinunt, P., Duraj-Thatte, A., Gelfat, I., Bahl, F., Chou, D.B., and Joshi, N.S. (2019). Probiotic Associated Therapeutic Curli Hybrids (PATCH). Nature Communications, 10:5580. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13336-6.
  • Duraj-Thatte, A., Dorval Courchesne, N.M., Praveschotinunt, P., Rutledge, J., Lee, Y., Karp, J.M., and Joshi, N.S. (2019). Genetically Programmable Self-Regenerating Bacterial Hydrogels. Advanced Materials, doi:10.1002/adma201901826.


Jan 25, 2023

Announcing Spring 2023 PEAK Experiences Awardees

Several engineering students and science students mentored by COE faculty are recipients of Northeastern’s Spring 2023 PEAK Experiences Awards. Base Camp Awardees Sophia Nguyen COE’26, “Neuromodulation of Motor Cortex’s Response to Different Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Pulse Waveforms” Mentor: Mathew Yarossi, Bouvé, Physical Therapy/Movement/Rehab Science This project seeks to use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a noninvasive […]


Apr 28, 2022

FY23 TIER 1 Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 15 COE faculty and affiliates who were recipients of FY23 TIER 1 Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grants for 13 different projects.


Apr 11, 2020

FY21 TIER 1 Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 19 COE faculty and affiliates who were recipients of FY21 TIER 1 Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grants for 13 different projects.

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