About us.


Conagen was co-founded in 2010 by Dr. Oliver Yu, a noted biochemist, professor, and researcher.  His expertise in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology of plants and microorganisms are published in more than 120 manuscripts and patents.

Dr. Yu earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Biology at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and continued his postdoctoral training at the DuPont company in Wilmington, Delaware. Thereafter, he joined the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center as a principal investigator, and for more than a decade, he studied and focused on biochemistry of botanical product biosynthesis. Coupled with his research, Dr. Yu also taught as an adjunct professor at two Missouri-based universities.

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conagen lab


In 2015, Conagen settled in Bedford, Massachusetts located in the greater Boston biotech corridor. Since then, the company has been doubling in size every year and has evolved into a full-spectrum solutions provider. Global organizations partner with Conagen to discover novel biochemical pathways, develop robust microbes, engineer reliable bio-manufacturing processes, and to expand to pilot and world-scale commercial bio-manufacturing.

Conagen’s overarching approach is to deliver the possible in science by focusing on the notion that products drive innovation and technology will reveal better solutions.



His research at Danforth led to the development of valuable and interesting molecules, initially derived from botanical extracts, and later with more sustainable and efficient methods using synthetic biology, fermentation, and bioconversion. He formed Conagen in 2010 with three other members of his lab, and focused their research and development efforts on pathway engineering and microbial platform development for process scale-up and commercial applications.

The origin of the Conagen name is endearing to Dr. Yu because his young daughter, who studied Latin in school, suggested the name that combines the Latin words (con) and (gen) to reflect her father’s work in plant genes.

  • 2015
  • 2010