Professor Wei Huang

Wei imageQualifications

PhD, MSc, BSc


Dr Wei Huang is an associate professor on synthetic biology. His main research interests include: 1) Synthetic biology (SimCells, biosensors and bioenergy); 2) Single cell Raman biotechnology (Raman activated cell sorting for single cell -omics). 


  • EPSRC Fellowship on Synthetic Biology
  • Developing SimCells (simple and simulated cells) for synthetic biology
  • One of pioneers studying microbes at single cell level using Raman micro-spectroscopy
  • Pioneer employing ultrasound to transfer DNA to bacterial cells
  • Biosensor design and application

Current projects 

  • EPSRC, Fellowship for synthetic biology, PI, Development of SimCells as building blocks for synthetic biology. 2014-2019
  • EPSRC, Flashlight Synthetic Biology fund, shared PI, Engineering a semi-biotic immune system. 2010-2015
  • NERC, Co-I, Biogeochemical cycling of N-osmolytes in the surface ocean (PI: Dr Yin Chen, Warwick University). 2014-2017
  • BBSRC sLoLa, Co-I, Engineering new capacities for solar energy utilisation in bacteria (PI: Prof Neil Hunter, University of Sheffield). 2015-2020
  • EPSRC, Co-I, Liquid Fuel and bioEnergy Supply from CO2 Reduction (PI: Prof Keith Scott, Newcastle University). 2016-2020

Past projects 

  • EU grant ECOWATER, USFD PI, Shared with Corus Ltd and CSM. 2010-2013
  • Royal Society Research fund 2009/R2, PI, Biosensor cell arrays for monitoring environmental pollution. 2010
  • NERC, Innovative A, PI, Novel biosensor for genotoxicity detection.2010
  • EPSRC, KTA fund, PI, Development of bacterial biosensors. 2009
  • NERC grant, PI, Interaction of nanoparticles with microbial populations during particle transport. 2007
  • NERC, Innovative Grant, New Concept of Biosensors. 2005-2006 
  • EC FP7, Co-I, Soil transformations in European catchments (PI: Prof Steve Banwart, University of Sheffield). 2009-2014
  • EPSRC, Co-I, BioEngineering from first principles  (PI: Prof Steve Banwart, University of Sheffield). 2010


  • C10: Engineering Principles for Synthetic Biology

Selected Publications (* corresponding author)

  • Jing, X., Gou, H., Gong, Y., Su, X., Xu, L. Ji, Y. Song, Y., Thompson, I.P., Xu, J. Huang, W.E.* (2018) Raman-activated cell sorting and metagenomic sequencing revealing carbon-fixing bacteria in the ocean. Environmental Microbiology 20:2241-2255.
  • Rampley, C.P.N., Davison, P.A., Qian, P., Preston, G.M., Hunter, C.N., Thompson, P.I., Wu, L.J., Huang, W.E.* (2017) Development of SimCells as a novel chassis for functional biosensors. Scientific Reports 7:7261.
  • Song, Y., Kaster, A., Vollmers, J., Song, Y., Davison, P.A., Frentrup, M., Preston, G.M., Thompson, I.P., Murrell, J.C., Yin, H., Hunter, C.N., Huang, W.E.* (2017) Single cell genomics based on Raman sorting reveals novel carotenoid-containing bacteria in the Red Sea. Microbial Biotechnology10:125-137.(Top 1% highly cited paper by Web of Science)
  • Berry D, Mader E, Woebken D, Wang Y, Zhu D, Lee TK, Palatinszky M, Schintlmeister A, Schmid M, Shterzer N, Mizrahi I, Rauch I, Decker T, Bocklitzg T, Popp J, Gibson CM, Fowler PW, Huang WE, Wagner M (2015) Heavy water (D2O) incorporation as a universally applicable activity marker for microbial communities with single cell resolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112: 112:E194-203(Top 1% highly cited paper by Web of Science)
  • Zhang, D., Berry, J.P., Zhu, D., Wang, Y., Chen, Y., Jiang, B., Huang, S., Langford, H., Li, G., Xu, J., Aries, E. and Huang, W.E.* (2015) Isolation and physiological characterisation of an uncultured degrader in a complex microbial community. ISME Journal 9:603-614. 
  • Zhang, D., Zhao, Y, He, Y, Wang, Y. Zhao, Y, Zheng, Y., Wei, X., Zhang,L., Li, Y., Jin, T., Wu, L., Wang, H., Davison, P.A., Xu, J. and Huang, W.E.* (2012) Characterization and Modeling of Transcriptional Cross-Regulation in Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1. ACS Synthetic Biology 1:274–283.
  • Li M, Canniffe DP, Jackson PJ, Davison PA, FitzGerald S, Dickman MJ, Burgess JG, Hunter CN & Huang WE* (2012) Rapid resonance Raman microspectroscopy to probe carbon dioxide fixation by single cells in microbial communities. ISME Journal 6:875-885.
  • Huang WE*, Ferguson A, Singer AC, Lawson K, Thompson IP, Kalin RM, Larkin MJ, Bailey MJ & Whiteley AS (2009) Resolving genetic functions within microbial populations: In situ analyses using rRNA and mRNA stable isotope probing coupled with single-cell Raman-fluorescence in situ hybridization. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75:234-241.
  • Song Y, Li G, Thornton SF, Thompson IP, Banwart SA, Lerner DN & Huang WE* (2009) Optimization of bacterial whole cell bioreporters for toxicity assay of environmental samples. Environmental Science and Technology 43:7931-7938.
  • Huang, W.E.*, Singer, A.C., Spiers A.J., Preston G.M. and Whiteley A.S. (2008) Characterizing the regulation of the Pu promoter in Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1. Environmental Microbiology 10:1668-1680. 
  • Huang WE, Stoecker K, Griffiths R, Newbold L, Daims H, Whiteley A & Wagner M (2007) Raman-FISH: Combining stable-isotope Raman spectroscopy and fluorescence in situ hybridization for the single cell analysis of identity and function. Environmental Microbiology 9:1878-1889.
  • Song Y, Hahn T, Thompson IP, Mason TJ, Preston GM, Li G, Paniwnyk L & Huang WE* (2007) Ultrasound-mediated DNA transfer for bacteria. Nucleic Acids Research 35:e129.
  • Huang WE, Wang H, Zheng H, Huang L, Singer AC, Thompson IP & Whiteley AS (2005) Chromosomally located gene fusions constructed in Acinetobacter sp. ADP1 for the detection of salicylate. Environmental Microbiology 7:1339-1348.
  • Huang WE*, Griffiths RI, Thompson IP, Bailey MJ & Whiteley AS (2004) Raman microscopic analysis of single microbial cells. Analytical Chemistry 76:4452-4458.