James Van Deventer

James Van Deventer

(617) 627-6339
4 Colby Street, Room 267B
Research/Areas of Interest:

Synthetic Biology, Chemical Biology, Protein Engineering, Antibody Engineering, Drug Discovery, Genetic Code Expansion, Noncanonical Amino Acids, Tumor Microenvironment.


  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, United States, 2011
  • M.S., California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, United States
  • B.S., Stanford University, Stanford, United States, 2004


James Van Deventer is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Tufts University. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering from Stanford University. He completed M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the California Institute of Technology. His thesis research in the laboratory of Professor David Tirrell employed noncanonical amino acids in applications of protein engineering and biophysics. To complete his training, Van Deventer pursued postdoctoral training in the laboratory of K. Dane Wittrup in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. His work there included engineering antibodies capable of targeting cancer-associated fibroblasts and enhancing yeast display with noncanonical amino acids. He is currently interested in using biomolecular engineering, synthetic biology, and chemical biology to establish new strategies for treating cancer and other complex diseases.

James Van Deventer's laboratory is currently focused on disrupting enzymatic and signaling processes within the tumor microenvironment. The laboratory is enhancing the chemical versatility of yeast display in order to support the discovery of inhibitors that combine the best properties of chemical compounds and proteins (biologics). The group is also using quantitative approaches to understand and improve genetic code manipulation in yeast, in particular the addition of amino acids to the genetic code.