Photo of Wei Xiong

Wei Xiong

Researcher IV-Molecular Biology


Research Interests

  • Production of fuels and value-added chemicals from photosynthetic microorganisms

  • Fermentative metabolism

  • Advanced metabolic analysis and synthetic biology

Areas of Expertise

  • Metabolomics, lipidomics, and fluxomics

    • Mass spectrometry-based metabolite analysis

    • Isotope tracer analysis and flux modeling

  • Molecular biology and biochemistry of cyanobacteria


  • Ph.D., Biology, Tsinghua University, 20062010

  • M.S., Microbiology, Central China Agricultural University, 20022005

  • B.S., Microbiology, Central China Agricultural University, 19982002

Professional Experience

  • Director's Postdoctoral Fellow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Biosciences Center, 2013present

  • Research Associate, Arizona State University, School of Life Sciences, 20102013

Featured Publications

  1. "The plasticity of cyanobacterial metabolism supports direct CO2 conversion to ethylene," Nature Plants (2015)

    Side-by-side illustrations of two Calvin cycles (labeled "bifurcated TCA under physiological conditions" on the right, and representing a "broken" TCA wheel, and "closed TCA cycle via ethylene production" on the left, representing the wheel turning again by ethylene production). Both start with an image of the sun that leads to the Calvin cycle which in turn leads to wheel-shaped structures partially submerged in a light blue bar.

    Highlighted by Ducat, Nature Plants, 2015.

  2. "Phosphoketolase pathway contributes to the carbon metabolism in cyanobacteria," Nature Plants (2015)

  3. "CO2-fixing one-carbon metabolism in a cellulose-degrading bacterium Clostridium thermocellum," PNAS (2016)

  4. "Engineered xylose utilization enhances bio-products productivity in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803," Metabolic Engineering (2015)

    Illustration of a series of three side-by-side images that show white and black circles in groups that are linked by blue arrows at the top and graphs of data at the bottom. The illustration shows the design of 13C-tracer and LC-MS analysis for characterizing the performance of engineered pentose pathway in CO2-fixation photosynthetic bacteria.
  5. "Genome-based metabolic mapping and 13C flux analysis reveal systematic properties of an oleaginous microalga Chlorella protothecoides," Plant Physiology (2015)

    Illustration of a genome-based metabolic network of a lipid-producing green alga Chlorella protothecoides. The illustration is on a light green background showing "chloroplast stroma" in a dark green area in the upper left, "peroxisome" in purple below that, and "mitochondrial matrix" in a red section to the left.
  6. "The -aminobutyric acid shunt contributes to closing the tricarboxylic acid cycle in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803," Molecular Microbiology (2014)

    : A series of four graphs in a quadrant showing glutamate, 2-oxoglutarate, succinate, and fumarate peaks of varying heights. The illustration shows the capability of isotope-assisted metabolomics, which is a high-resolution tool for monitoring in vivo metabolic reactions and demonstrating details of biofuel production.

Additional Publications

  1. "Ethylene forming enzyme and bio-ethylene production," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2014)

  2. "13C-Tracer and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Analyses Reveal Metabolic Flux Distribution in Oleaginous Microalga Chlorella protothecoides," Plant Physiology (2010)

  3. "Double CO2 fixation in photosynthesis–fermentation model enhances algal lipid synthesis for biodiesel production," Bioresource Technology (2010)

  4. "Effect of UV-C on algal evolution and difference of growth rate, pigments and photosynthesis between prokaryotic and eukaryotic algae," Photochemistry and Photobiology (2009)

  5. "Identification of the proteomic changes in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 following prolonged UV-B irradiation," Journal of Experimental Botany (2009)

  6. "Action Spectra of chlorophyll a biosynthesis in cyanobacteria: dark-operative protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase-deficient mutants," Zeitschrift für Naturforschung (2009)

  7. "Rapid quantitation of lipid in microalgae by time-domain nuclear magnetic resonance," Journal of Microbiological Methods (2008)

  8. "High-density fermentation of microalga Chlorella protothecoides in bioreactor for microbio-diesel production," Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology (2008)

  9. "Construction of the conjugal transfer system of Streptomyces cinnamonensis and effect of PCR-mediated nsdA gene disruption on its secondary metabolism," Chinese Journal of Agricultural Biotechnology (2007)

  10. "Application of integrative expression of orfX gene in the industrial breeding of Streptomyces avermitilis," Chinese Journal of Agricultural Biotechnology (2007)

  11. "Identification and biochemical properties of Dps (starvation-induced DNA binding protein) from cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120," IUBMB Life (2007)

  12. "Enhancement and selective production of oligomycin through inactivation of avermectin's starter unit in Streptomyces avermitilis," Biotechnology Letters (2006)

  13. "Construction of Streptomyces avermitilis bkdF- Mutant Using PCR-mediated Gene Replacement Method," Chinese Journal of Agricultural Biotechnology (2005)

  14. "Research on the role of Bacillus subtilis in purifying Penaeus monodon mariculture water," Journal of Central China Agricultural University (2002)

View all NREL Publications for Wei Xiong.