Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Emily Balskus has been named an Innovator Under 35 by the MIT Technology Review. Each year since 1999, editors of the review have selected exceptionally talented young innovators whose work they believe has the greatest potential to transform the world.
Balskus uses a variety of approaches, including advanced DNA sequencing, to discover new metabolic pathways and to study how gut bacteria use chemical reactions to survive. In one example of her success, Balskus’ Harvard lab has been credited with uncovering the bacterial enzymes in the human gut that convert the essential nutrient choline to trimethylamine, a metabolite linked to heart disease. Because a majority of choline comes from food, learning more about its relationship to intestinal bacteria could illuminate the link between diet and the risk of heart disease.