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In addition to its annual lectures, ChBE hosts a weekly seminar throughout the year with invited lecturers who are prominent in their fields. Unless otherwise noted, all seminars are held on Wednesdays in the Molecular Science and Engineering Building ("M" Building) in G011 (Cherry Logan Emerson Lecture Theater) at 4:00 p.m. Refreshments are served at 3:30 p.m. in the Emerson-Lewis Reception Salon.
Systems and Synthetic Biology: tools to enable reading, editing and writing genomes
Advances in technology have greatly enhanced our ability to interrogate biology and gain a more in depth understanding of cellular networks. In particular, the ability to rapidly sequence and synthesize DNA have provided a wealth of knowledge and opened up the field of synthetic biology. However, in order to synthesize new genetic parts, we must first catalog the parts currently available in the genome. Systems biology focuses on the interactions between components of biological systems and how they interact to determine the phenotype of the cell; I will describe my past work in the field of systems biology, particularly in the field of metabolic modeling and transcriptomics and how these tools can be used to predict and measure phenotypic changes in the cell. Once the list of parts has been created using systems biology, we can start to edit, revise and write genomes in order to introduce complex traits and produce molecules of interest. A major challenge in this field is how to introduce numerous changes simultaneously over the entire genome; in order to minimize the time required to develop new production strains, I have developed a strain of E. coli which facilitates efficient multiplex recombineering of targets around the genome. This strain has 15 co-selectable markers which can be used for co-selection recombineering to enhance a subpopulation of cells that carry the desired mutation (whether or not the desired mutation has a phenotype), thus enhancing multiplex recombineering efficiency and greatly reducing strain development time.