Kristala L. Jones Prather

Arthur Dehon Little Professor, Department Executive Officer

Chemical engineering is the perfect backdrop for our research. We engineer microbes to produce chemical compounds. Some may look at this and think biology, but if you were able to peer inside a cell, you’d witness thousands of chemical reactions inside a microbial chemical factory.

Research Interests

metabolic engineering, biochemical engineering, bioprocess engineering, synthetic biology


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1999

S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1994


Honors and Awards

AIChE's Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering, 2021

Gordon Y. Billard Award, 2021

Fellow of the AAAS, 2018

MLK Leadership Award, 2017

Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, 2014-15

MacVicar Faculty Fellow, 2014

Biochemical Engineering Journal Young Investigator Award, 2011

MIT School of Engineering Junior Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2010

National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2010

Technology Review “TR35” Young Innovator, 2007

Outstanding Faculty Award for Undergraduate Teaching, 2006

Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, 2005

Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation New Faculty Award, 2004

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 1998

UNCF-Merck Science Initiative Graduate Fellowship, 1996

NOBCChE/DuPont Graduate Fellowship Award, 1996

NDSEG Fellowship, 1994

Robert T. Haslam Cup ChemE Dept, MIT, 1994

Karl Taylor Compton Prize, MIT, 1994

NSBE Distinguished Fellow, 1994