Nancy Da Silva

Nancy Da Silva

Professor (Joint Appointment)
Undergraduate Student Affairs Office: REC 305A
Office: 3446 Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Building
Lab: 3540 Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Building
(949) 824-6737 (Undergraduate Student Affairs Office)
(949) 824-8288 Office
(949) 824-2006 Lab
(949) 824-2541

Samueli School of Engineering
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697


Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, Chemical Engineering, 1988
M.S., California Institute of Technology, Chemical Engineering, 1985
B.S., University of Massachusetts, Chemical Engineering, 1982

Da Silva's primary research focus is molecular biotechnology. Her research emphasizes molecular-level design combined with subsequent application and analysis, and has focused on the important industrial yeasts: Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Bakers' yeast), Pichia pastoris, Kluyveromyces lactis, and Kluyveromyces marxianus.

A major research area is metabolic pathway engineering, including the development of improved methods and tools. Current applications range from engineering S. cerevisiae for the synthesis of polyketides (a very valuable class of pharmaceuticals) to the engineering of yeast for the enhanced uptake and sequestration of arsenic (an environmental application). There is also a strong emphasis on biorenewables in the Da Silva group, including two interdisciplinary projects related to biofuels, and one on the synthesis of biorenewable chemicals (part of CBiRC, an NSF Engineering Research Center at ISU). Another major research effort is a collaborative project on the synthesis of cell-responsive biopolymers in yeast.