Elias Research Lab

         ENGINEERING &                       STRUCTURAL Biology

Research Projects

Microbes are capable of thriving in most extreme conditions, including high temperature, acidity, high pressure, radiation, dessication, or poisonous environments. We focus on the molecular mechanisms and determinants that allow for their extreme adaptability.

Numerous ions are both essential for Life and limiting in natural environments. We investigate the elaborated molecular strategies utilized by microbes to scavenge these essential nutrients from depleted environments while excluding potentially toxic competitors.

Bacteria are using chemical signalling to exchange information and coordinate behaviors. We develop molecular tools to hijack this communication and study this information flux. This is a promising way to address microbial resistance.


Biological macromolecules comprise fantastic objects with nearly unlimited activities and potentialities. Their use in biotechnology has already changed several segments of industry including the detergents, paper industries, the food industry (e.g. sugar), and is expected to revolutionize the medical industry.

Our Lab aims to decipher the mechanisms by which those molecules evolve, to understand the molecular basis of their biological functions, and to develop new methods for their engineering, with the aim of developing soft, ecological solutions to current or emerging society issues. The current methods used in the Lab are spanning from molecular biology and microbiology, to protein engineering, structural biology and bioinformatics.

Events & Stories

July 02, 2020

Biotechnology Training Grant

Congratulations to Mai Beauclaire for entering the NIH biotechnology training grant program!

February 01, 2020

Celine Bergonzi is awarded the best PhD thesis award by the Crystallography Association

The French Crystallography Association awards Celine Bergonzi the Best PhD thesis award in Biology

September 12, 2019

The Elias Lab is awarded a NIH NIGMS R35 grant

The Elias Lab received a prestigious NIH award to investigate microbial signaling.

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Signal and Noise

May 18, 2020

Enzyme-based coatings developed at the University of Minnesota help protect port infrastructure by disrupting the signals underwater bacteria use to communicate.

Eco-Friendly, anticorrosion coatings

September 06, 2019

Read a new story about our enzyme-based coating technology

Failure to Communicate

June 25, 2019

“Silencing” bacteria may give scientists an antibiotic-free route to controlling infections and balancing the microbiome.

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Deciphering the molecular determinants accounting for the adaptability of extremophiles.

Concepts & Methods


University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
We are currently seeking new students and a graduate student. Learn more
Join the lab !

For any inquiries, or questions, please call: 612-626-9741 or fill out the following form

Elias Lab

Elias Lab
BioTechnology Institute
1479 Gortner Avenue
158 Gortner Laboratory
St. Paul, MN 55108


158 Gortner Lab
Phone: 612-626-9741

Email: ​mhelias@umn.edu


158a Gortner Lab
Phone: 612-626-1915

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