Welcome! Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, I graduated from Fox Chapel Area High School in 2004, and from Harvard College in 2008, where I studied Chemical and Physical Biology. I am currently a MD candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles and a PhD candidate in Biology at the California Institue of Technology in the laboratory of Richard Murray.

My primary research and clinical interests lie in synthetic biology, global health/infectious disease, and health policy. My undergraduate thesis was conducted under George Church at Harvard Medical School. Internationally, I have conducted research projects in Nepal and in Cameroon.

In my spare time, I enjoy international travel, photography, cooking, and enjoying the outdoors of Southern California. Travel insights can be read in my blog.


Note: The local paper copies below may only be utilized for fair use.


6) Yeung E.Y., Ng A., Kim J., Sun Z.Z., Murray, R.M. Modeling the effects of compositional context on promoter activity in an E. coli extract-based transcription-translation system. Submitted.

5) Takahashi, M.K., Chappell J., Hayes, C.A., Sun, Z.Z., Kim J., Singhal, V., Spring, K.J., Al-Khabouri, S., Fall, C.P., Noireaux V., Murray, R.M., Lucks, J.B. Rapidly characterizing the fast dynamics of RNA genetic circuitry with cell-free transcription-translation (TX-TL) systems. ACS Synthetic Biology, 2014. [Local copy] [Remote copy]

4) Sun, Z.Z., Yeung, E.Y., Hayes, C.A., Noireaux, V., Murray, R.M. Linear DNA for rapid prototyping of synthetic biological circuits in an Escherichia coli based TX-TL cell-free system. ACS Synthetic Biology, 2013. [Local copy] [Remote copy]

3) Sun, Z.Z., Hayes, C.A., Shin, J., Caschera, F., Murray, R.M., Noireaux, V. Protocols for implementing an Escherichia coli based TX-TL cell-free expression system for synthetic biology. Journal of Visualized Experiments 2013; 79: e50762. [Local copy] [Remote copy]

2) Wang, H.H., Isaacs, F.J., Carr, P.A., Sun, Z.Z., Xu, G., Forest, C., Church, G.M. 2009. Programming cells by multiplex genome engineering and accelerated evolution. Nature 2009; 460: 894-898. [Local copy] [Remote copy]

1) Sun, Z., Jiang, W.S. Size spectrum of Suspended Particulate Matter in the Bohai Sea. In: Proceedings of MTS/IEEE OCEANS 2006; 2006 Sep 18-21; Boston, MA. Boston: IEEE; 2006. p 1-7. [Local copy] [Remote copy]

Abstracts, Posters, Presentations etc.

7) Sun, Z.Z., Noireaux, V., Murray, R.M. Accelerating the design-build-test cycle of synthetic biological circuits in E. coli using S30 TX-TL cell-free systems, linear DNA, and modular assembly. Under consideration, Synthetic Biology, Engineering, Evolution, and Design (SEED) 2014, Manhattan Beach, CA, July 2014.

6) Sun, Z.Z., Guo, S., Noireaux, V., Murray, R.M. An In Vitro Transcription-Translation System for Probing Multi-Species Synthetic and Natural Regulatory Regions. To be presented, American Society of Microbiology (ASM) 2014, Boston, CA, May 2014.

5) Hayes, C.A., Sun, Z.Z., Guo, S.G., Noireaux, V., Murray, R.M. Implementing circuit dynamics through protein degradation in an Escherichia coli based TX-TL cell-free expression system. Presented at Synthetic Biology 6.0, London, United Kingdom, July 2013.

4) Sun, Z.Z., Hayes, CA., Tuza, Z.A., Chen, C., Lee, B.J., Noireaux, V., Murray, R.M. A cell-free bimolecular breadboard for rapid prototyping of biological circuits. Presented at 1st Winter Q-bio, Honolulu, HI, February 2013.

3) Sun, Z.Z., Isaacs, F.J., Wang, H.H., Charalel, R.A., Church, G.M. Developing enabling technologies for high-throughput genomic manipulation in Escherichia coli, Presented at Synthetic Biology 4.0, Hong Kong, China, October 2008.

2) Sun, Z.Z. Developing enabling technologies for high-throughput genomic manipulation in Escherichia coli. [undergraduate thesis].

1) Sun, Z., Hsieh, H., Lau, J., Ramos, D. Cyanobacterial oscillator. Presented at iGEM 2006, Cambridge, MA, November 2006.


A review of my current work involving biomolecular breadboards can be found here.


You can find my blog at the following address, related to travel.


A research resume for public use can be found here. For a more detailed resume, please contact me directly.


Zachary Zhipeng Sun
MC 138-78
California Institute of Technology
1200 E California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91125

zsun at caltech dot (edu)