Ph.D. Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine.

B.S. Biology, University of California, Riverside.

B.A. Spanish Literature, University of California, Riverside.


Office 4121BB
Bench 4550-050
5885 Hollis St., 4th floor
Emeryville, CA 94608
Website LinkedIn


Current Research

Engineering polyketide synthases for the production of commodity chemicals.


  • Phelan, R., D. Sachs, S. Petkiewicz, J. F. Barajas, J. M. Blake-Hedges, M. G. Thompson, A. R. Apel, B. J. Rasor, L. Katz, J. D. Keasling. 2016. ‘Development of next generation synthetic biology tools for use in Streptomyces venezuelae’, ACS Synthetic Biology
  • Barajas, J. F., R. M. Phelan, A. J. Schaub, J. T. Kliewer, P. J. Kelly, D. R. Jackson, R. Luo, J. D. Keasling, and S. C. Tsai. 2015. ‘Comprehensive Structural and Biochemical Analysis of the Terminal Myxalamid Reductase Domain for the Engineered Production of Primary Alcohols’, Chem Biol, 22: 1018-29.
  • Caldara-Festin, G., D. R. Jackson, J. F. Barajas, T. R. Valentic, A. B. Patel, S. Aguilar, M. Nguyen, M. Vo, A. Khanna, E. Sasaki, H. W. Liu, and S. C. Tsai. 2015. ‘Structural and functional analysis of two di-domain aromatase/cyclases from type II polyketide synthases’, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 112: E6844-51.
  • Jackson, D. R., S. S. Tu, M. Nguyen, J. F. Barajas, A. J. Schaub, D. Krug, D. Pistorius, R. Luo, R. Muller, and S. C. Tsai. 2016. ‘Structural Insights into Anthranilate Priming during Type II Polyketide Biosynthesis’, ACS Chem Biol, 11: 95-103.
  • Jackson, D. R., X. Yu, G. Wang, A. B. Patel, J. Calveras, J. F. Barajas, E. Sasaki, M. Metsa-Ketela, H. W. Liu, J. Rohr, and S. C. Tsai. 2016. ‘Insights into Complex Oxidation during BE-7585A Biosynthesis: Structural Determination and Analysis of the Polyketide Monooxygenase BexE’, ACS Chem Biol, 11: 1137-47.
  • Nezames, C. D., C. A. Sjogren, J. F. Barajas, and P. B. Larsen. 2012. ‘The Arabidopsis cell cycle checkpoint regulators TANMEI/ALT2 and ATR mediate the active process of aluminum-dependent root growth inhibition’, Plant Cell, 24: 608-21.
  • Shakya, G., H. Rivera, Jr., D. J. Lee, M. J. Jaremko, J. J. La Clair, D. T. Fox, R. W. Haushalter, A. J. Schaub, J. Bruegger, J. F. Barajas, A. R. White, P. Kaur, E. R. Gwozdziowski, F. Wong, S. C. Tsai, and M. D. Burkart. 2014. ‘Modeling linear and cyclic PKS intermediates through atom replacement’, J Am Chem Soc, 136: 16792-9.


NIH F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, 2013-1015

GMBRS Fellow, 2011