Elizabeth Libby

Assistant Professor,  Bioengineering


Social Media

Related Links

Research Focus

Synthetic biology, microbiology, biosensor development


Elizabeth Libby joined the Bioengineering department at Northeastern in January 2021 with a research focus on synthetic biology. Previously, she was a Departmental Fellow in Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School where she led efforts in synthetic biology to develop new genetic circuits and cell-based detectors. She earned a BS in Physics from Stanford and a PhD in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania. There she transitioned to biology, imaging transcription factor binding and chromosome dynamics in bacteria. She did postdoctoral training in Microbiology at Columbia University, studying signaling systems, phenotypic noise, and antibiotic tolerance.


  • PhD, Physics, University of Pennsylvania, 2011
  • BS, Physics, Stanford University, 2005

Honors & Awards

  • NIH R35 MIRA (Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award) for Early Stage Investigators, 2022
  • Departmental Fellow in Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, 2016-2020

Research Overview

Synthetic biology, microbiology, biosensor development

Libby Lab

The Libby Lab uses a combination of synthetic biology and microbiology to build new, predictably performing, biological systems.

We use these systems for a variety of applications including 1) revealing new biology and 2) engineering new types of biosensors. To do this we use an interdisciplinary approach including protein engineering, microbial genetics, and systems biology.

Libby Lab

Research Centers and Institutes

Selected Publications

  • E.A. Libby, S. Reuveni, J. Dworkin, Multisite Phosphorylation Drives Phenotypic Variation in (p)ppGpp Synthetase-Dependent Antibiotic Tolerance, Nat Commun, 10, 2019, 5133
  • E.A. Libby, P.A. Silver, Harnessing Undomesticated Life, Nature Microbiology, 4(2), 2019, 212–213
  • E.A. Libby, J. Dworkin, Habits of Highly Effective Biofilms: Ion Signaling, Molecular Cell, 66(6), 2017, 733-734
  • S. Sarkar, E.A. Libby, S.E. Pidgeon, J. Dworkin, M.M. Pires In Vivo Probe of Lipid II-Interacting Proteins, Angewandte Chemie Int Ed Engl, 2016
  • E.A. Libby, L.A. Goss, J. Dworkin, The Eukaryotic-Like Ser/Thr Kinase PrkC Regulates the Essential WalRK Two-Component System in Bacillus subtilis, PLoS Genet, 11(6), 2015, e1005275


Jul 03, 2024

Improving the Smell of Composting

A team of bioengineering students are participating in the International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation global competition that showcases synthetic biology projects. The iGEM student team is developing a solution that would make compost smell like mint and lavender by targeting the microbial process. They also recently received a PEAK Experience Award from Northeastern.

Elizabeth Libby


Apr 24, 2023

Libby Awarded $1.96M Early-Stage Investigator Grant from NIH

Elizabeth Libby, assistant professor of bioengineering, recently received a five-year, $1.96 million Early Stage Investigator R35 MIRA (Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award) grant from the National Institutes of Health for “Physiological and Developmental Role of Bacterial Ser/Thr Kinases.” Libby’s research is focused on how bacteria develop resistance at the cellular level—knowledge that will be crucial to the development of more effective antibiotics.

Elizabeth Libby


Jan 08, 2021

New Faculty Spotlight: Elizabeth Libby

Elizabeth Libby joins the Bioengineering department in January 2021 as an Assistant Professor.

View All Related News