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Patrick Caveney

Cross-Cutting Energy Sciences


Supervising Faculty: Mitch DoktyczMike Simpson

Patrick’s interest in bioengineering started in high school biology after making E.coli glow green with the green fluorescent protein gene from jellyfish. He earned a bachelor's degree from University of Tennessee in biomedical engineering with a minor in engineering entrepreneurship. As an undergraduate in Dr Mingjun Zhang’s lab he modeled how nanoparticles can be used to tune the mechanical properties of materials. He moved to Dr. Cong Trinh’s lab and built plasmids with different copy numbers for E.coli. The goal was to add another layer of control over the balance of enzymes in metabolic pathways.

He has continued studying molecular biology through the Bredesen Center with Dr. Michael Simpson (Center for Nanophase Material Science) and Dr. Mitchel Doktycz (Biosciences Division). The purpose of his current research is to better understand the relationship between sharing limited reusable cellular resources and gene expression noise. In much the same way that understanding noise in electronic circuits has lead to clearer signals, understanding noise in biological circuits will lead to better engineered organisms able to produce biofuels, fine chemicals, nanoparticles, or electricity in bioreactors.

Through the Bredesen Center’s entrepreneurship track, Patrick is commercializing low cost, heavy-metal-free nanoparticles for the display and lighting industries. After graduation he will continue to commercialize biotech. He helps host an annual TEDxUTK event to advance academic outreach between the university and the local community. He enjoys running and hiking in his spare time.


Bachelors of Science, Biomedical Engineering and an Engineering Entrepreneurship Minor, University of Tennessee 2013

Awards and Recognitions

  • Alcoa Engineering Study Abroad Fellow
  • Tau Beta Pi member
  • Bredesen Center Outreach Award


Google Scholar Profile: Patrick Caveney