BioTechnology Institute


BioTechnology Institute


BioTechnology Institute


BioTechnology Institute

About BTI

Since its inception in 1984, The BioTechnology Institute (BTI)

has supported world-class biotechnology research at the University of Minnesota and provides critical infrastructure, training, and connections to partners in the state’s thriving biotechnology industry. Through the Biotechnology Training Program and the Graduate Program in Microbial Engineering, and our research initiatives, cutting-edge microbial cell fermentation and downstream processing services, we continue to support research within the University and serve as a vital link to industry partners.

“Awesome quote: We Love BTI. It teaches great things. Nunc consequat justo eget enim finibus porta. Suspendisse orci nunc, rutrum quis nunc sed, feugiat hendrerit massa. In cursus ornare sollicitudin.”

-BTI Director, Claudia Schmidt-Dannert

Minneapolis skyline at sunset with roads and trains in the foreground

What We Offer

Biotechnology Resource Center (BRC)

The BRC provides contract development and manufacturing services for University researchers and external partners. The BRC is a vital part of the state’s thriving biotech ecosystem.


Biotechnology Training

BTI is home to the NIH supported Biotechnology Training Program which provides interdiscplinary, lab-based training and mentorship for students pursuing careers in academia and industry.

Graduate Program

BTI’s Graduate Program in Microbial Engineering draws on faculty from across the University in a dual-track program designed for students coming from life science and engineering backgrounds.

Research News

Learn About Our Research

BTI is home to cutting-edge research in bioremediation, synthetic biology, protein engineering, and natural product discovery. Read our Gateway blog for stories about research, partnerships with local industry and the impact of our work on communities across Minnesota.

Undercover Operative: Environmental Microbiologist Infiltrates the World of Human Microbiome Research 

BTI Researcher Christopher Staley uses an ecology framework to tackle the human microbiome and its intricate secrets.

Q&A with BTI Director Claudia Schmidt-Dannert

As the BioTechnology Institute’s new director, longtime faculty member Claudia Schmidt-Dannert aims to plant the institute firmly on the front lines of emerging needs and opportunities.

Synthetic Cells and Biofactories

Kate Adamala and the Build-a-Cell consortium look to synthetic biology for insight into the origins of life and a source for vital raw materials.

The DNA Solution

The exploding yeast and fluorescent fish are interesting, for sure. But for Michael Smanski, the real attraction of synthetic biology is the chance to work at the cusp of a new era in biology—one that holds promise for improving food production, medical care, climate change adaptation, pollution cleanup and more.

Building New Metabolic Pathways

Microbes are nothing if not industrious. The metabolic pathways (linked series of chemical reactions) in these tiny organisms lead them to crank out a wide variety of molecules for all sorts of purposes — and that’s what has Mike Freeman’s attention.

A Helpful Fungus Among Us

Some experts estimate that there are over two million species of fungi living on Earth today. Excellent scavengers and nutrient recyclers, many fungi also gather materials from their surroundings and can even capture and store environmental contaminants.

Tapping the Talents of Enzymes

BTI researchers are working to discover, understand, and improve our ability to enlist the help of molecules that catalyze life.

Understanding a Toxic Necessity

Jannell Bazurto, assistant professor of Plant and Microbial Biology at the University of Minnesota, is pursuing a better understanding of formaldehyde, a chemical that is carcinogenic, toxic, and produced by all living things.

The Fight for Safer Food

To confront the threat of persistent foodborne pathogens, Steve Bowden turns to novel techniques.

A Micro Lens on a Macroscopic Question

A Q&A with PhD Candidate Anna Bennett

Seminars and Events

Bio&Tech Innovation Series: TBD

Speaker TBD

April 6, 2023 | 3:30 p.m. | Gortner 239

Boswell Wing

University of Colorado Boulder

April 20, 2023 | 3:30 p.m. | Gortner 239

Brian Murphy

University of Illinois Chicago

April 27, 2023 | 3:30 p.m. | Amundson 151D

Terry Papoutsakis

University of Delaware

April 13, 2023 | 3:30 p.m. | Gortner 239
Reception to follow

Faculty Research Insight Talks #6

Claudia Schmidt-Dannert and Brett Barney
University of Minnesota

March 30, 2023 | 3:30 p.m. | Gortner 239
Reception to follow

Faculty Research Insight Talk #5

Christine Salomon and Mark Distefano
University of Minnesota

March 16, 2023 | 3:30 p.m. | Amundson 151D

Faculty Research Insight Talks #4

Mike Travisano and Mike Smanski
University of Minnesota

February 16, 2023
3:30 p.m., Gortner 239

Faculty Research Insight Talks #3

Burckhard Seelig and Bo Hu
University of Minnesota

February 9, 2023
3:30 p.m., Gortner 239

Faculty Research Insight Talks #2

Alptekin Aksan and Larry Wackett
University of Minnesota

February 2, 2023
3:30 p.m., Gortner 239
Reception to follow

Faculty Research Insight Talks #1

Daniel Bond and Jeffrey Gralnick
University of Minnesota

January 26, 2023
3:30 p.m., Gortner 239
Reception to follow

Our seminar and event series supports the research and educational mission of the University through a biweekly lecture series, symposia, and community programming. Spring semester lectures and seminars will be held in either a hybrid format or online via Zoom. Please see our full schedule for format details.

BTI is an interdisciplinary research institute whose members come from departments and colleges across the University.

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University of Minnesota Medical School