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Seeking Knowledge, Seeking Solutions

Our researchers are making discoveries that have the potential to increase knowledge about our world and lead to benefits to society.

University Research News

Researchers find nature’s backup plan for converting nitrogen into plant nutrients .

Princeton University researchers have found that nature has developed a backup method for converting atmospheric nitrogen into the nutrient form critical to plant growth and soil fertility. The researchers report that the process known as nitrogen fixation can be carried out by the metal vanadium in ecosystems — particularly in the northern hemisphere — where the primary catalyst molybdenum is scarce. The study suggests that nature’s capacity to restore ecosystems in the wake of human-made disturbances or fertilize agricultural land is more resilient than previously thought.

How to make better biofuels? Convince yeast it's not starving .

Yeast already helps make bread and beer and cranks out the biofuel ethanol, but scientists believe it can be used to create an even more efficient fuel called isobutanol. Normally, yeast only creates a tiny amount of isobutanol. Now researchers at Princeton University have discovered a genetic switch that significantly ramps up production. Isobutanol has about a 25% greater energy density than ethanol and is much better suited for use in vehicles than current ethanol-based fuels. Biofuels can be a renewable and environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based fuels.

External Partnerships

Princeton faculty members collaborate with colleagues throughout the world to carry out important, cutting-edge research and scholarship.

Celeste Nelson with Victor Varner and Mei Fong-Pang

Celeste Nelson (center), a professor of chemical and biological engineering at Princeton, worked with a research team including Victor Varner and Mei Fong-Pang to examine how fluid pressure helps control the rate of development of embryonic lungs. 

Collaboration Is Key

It is through collaborations that Princeton's faculty transform laboratory research into real-world projects that can make a difference to society.

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Interdisciplinary Approach

Princeton researchers collaborate across academic fields and across the globe. The campus is home to numerous interdisciplinary research collaborations and centers.



  • Student in Chemistry lab
  • Professor and students confer in a lab.
  • Student looks at research image on computer.
  • Andlinger Clean Room

Facilities and Labs

From high-performance computing to electron microscopy, the University provides researchers with access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.