Thomas Joseph Mansell

  • Assistant Professor
  • Karen and Dennis Vaughn Faculty Fellow

Main Office

3035 Sweeney
Ames, IA 50011-1098
Phone: 515-294-7177


  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, 2004 (Second Major: Spanish)
  • M.S.E., Chemical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, 2005
  • Ph.D., Cornell University, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2011

Interest Areas

  • Synthetic biology for engineering microbial communities

Research Experience

Postdoctoral Research, University of Colorado, Boulder. Research summary, Synthetic biology for cellular circuits and chemical genomics: Using multiplex oligonucleotide synthesis, recombineering, and high-throughput sequencing, I am developing new library creation methods and selections for novel Tet repressor-nucleic acid pairs. These orthogonal repressors will be used to expand the complexity of cellular circuits for synthetic biology. Concurrently, I am studying the microbial ecology of antibiotic resistance using a genome-scale library and high-throughput sequencing combined with the QIIME (Quantitative Insights into Microbial Ecology) workflow.

Doctoral Research, Cornell University. Thesis title: A suite of tools for reporting and engineering protein folding, interactions, and post-translational modifications in the bacterial periplasm. I developed genetic selections which couple cell growth (via activity of TEM-1 β-lactamase) to protein folding and solubility, interactions, and N-linked glycosylation in the periplasmic space. Applications include engineering of these characteristics by directed evolution. I also created a genome-scale metabolic model of E. coli to account for engineered bacterial glycosylation. Masters Research, The Johns Hopkins University Essay Title: Kinetic and mutagenic characterization of an engineered allosteric enzyme. I created and kinetically characterized rationally designed variants of maltose-modulated molecular switches. I also performed both selections and secondary high-throughput screening to discover sucrose-modulated molecular switches evolved from the original maltose switches.

 Teaching Spring Semester 2018

  • Ch E 220, Introduction to Biomedical Engineering

Selected Publications

TJ Mansell*, SJ Weiss*, P Mortazavi, R Knight, RT Gill. Parallel mapping of cryptic and multi-drug antibiotic resistance alleles in Escherichia coli (in revision, PLOS ONE) * Authors contributed equally M-P Robinson, N Ke, J Lobstein, TJ Mansell, C Tuckey, P Riggs, P Colussi, C Noren, C Taron, MP DeLisa and M Berkmen. Bypassing membranes: exceptional expression of functional IgGs in the cytoplasm of engineered Escherichia coli. (in revision at Nature Communications) RI Zeitoun, AD Garst, GD Degen, G Pines, TJ Mansell, TY Glebes, NR Boyle, RT Gill. “Multiplexed Tracking of the Evolutionary Trajectory of Combinatorial Genome Engineered Populations,” Nature Biotechnology (in press) TJ Mansell, C Guarino, MP DeLisa. (2013) Engineered genetic selection links in vivo protein folding and stability with asparagine‐linked glycosylation. Biotechnology Journal 8(12), 1445-1451. [Featured commentary by Danielle Tullman-Ercek pp.1377-1378] TJ Mansell, JR Warner, RT Gill. (2013) “Trackable Multiplex Recombineering for Gene-Trait Mapping in E. coli.” Methods in Molecular Biology 985:223-246 E Çelik, AC Fisher, C Guarino, TJ Mansell, MP DeLisa. (2010) A filamentous phage display system for N-linked glycoproteins. Protein Science 19(10), 2006-13. TJ Mansell, SW Linderman, AC Fisher, MP DeLisa. (2010) A rapid protein folding assay for the bacterial periplasm. Protein Science 19(5),1079 - 90. HK Lim, TJ Mansell, SW Linderman, AC Fisher, MR Dyson, MP DeLisa. (2009) Mining mammalian genomes for folding competent proteins using Tat-dependent genetic selection in Escherichia coli. Protein Science 18(12), 2537-49. RJ Conrado, TJ Mansell, MP DeLisa. (2009) “Engineering multifunctional enzyme systems for optimized metabolite transfer between sequential conversion steps” in The Metabolic Pathway Engineering Handbook. Edited by CD Smolke: CRC Press TJ Mansell, AC Fisher, MP DeLisa. (2008) Engineering the protein folding landscape in gram-negative bacteria. Current Protein and Peptide Science, 9(2),138-49. (invited review) AC Fisher, TJ Mansell, MP DeLisa. (2008) “Protein Folding and Solubility: Pathways and High-Throughput Assays” in Protein Engineering Handbook. Edited by S Lutz and UT Bornscheuer: Wiley-VCH RJ Conrado, TJ Mansell, JD Varner, MP DeLisa. (2007) Stochastic reaction-diffusion simulation of enzyme compartmentalization reveals improved catalytic efficiency for a synthetic metabolic pathway. Metabolic Engineering, 9, 355-363. [Featured on the cover] J Liang, JR Kim, JT Boock, TJ Mansell and M Ostermeier. (2007) Ligand binding and allostery can emerge simultaneously. Protein Science 16, 929-937. G Guntas, TJ Mansell, JR Kim, and M Ostermeier. (2005) Directed evolution of protein switches and their application to the creation of ligand-binding proteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102, 11224-11229.