Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Mimi Yung


Biosciences and Biotechnology Division

August 13, 2021

What do you like about working at the Lab?

I really like that I get to work on so many different projects that are scientifically interesting but also have real-world applications. I've worked on projects, including studying uranium resistance mechanisms by bacteria, genetically engineering microbes to produce host toxic peptides with therapeutic potential, and developing methods for microbial cement curing. I've been lucky to work on these engaging projects with other talented and caring scientists, which makes the Lab a great place to work!

What do your day-to-day work activities include?

Day to day, I run experiments, write proposals/reports/publications, and attend meetings.

What is one project you’re really proud to have worked on?

I'm proud of a recent Laboratory Directed Research and Development project that I led where we looked at producing therapeutic antimicrobial peptides in a bacterial host using an engineered protein cage (encapsulin) system. These peptides are attractive alternatives to conventional antibiotics but their production in bacterial hosts remains challenging because they are toxic and easily degraded by the host. We developed a system to produce these peptides by fusing them to protein cage variants, which allows them to be produced in relatively high quantities in bacteria. We published this work in Biotechnology and Bioengineering and it was highlighted as an Editor's Choice Article.

What is your educational or career background?

I have a BS in biochemistry from Tufts University and a PhD in biological chemistry from MIT. I did my postdoc at LLNL in environmental microbiology and converted to staff in 2015.

What inspired you to go into science?

I had a wonderful high school chemistry teacher who really sparked my interest in the sciences. During college, I gained an appreciation of the beauty of microbiology, biochemistry, and genetics, which inspired me to pursue a PhD and continue research in these areas.

What advice would you give to a new employee at the Lab?

Get to know people inside and outside of your division. You never know when your paths will cross in the future.

What do you do in your free time?

I love spending time outdoors with my family and reading novels.

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