Silver: Synthetic Biology
Synthetic biology focuses on design and construction of synthetic genomes and programmed cells through cycles of computer modeling, assembly, and testing (not necessarily in that order). The goal of synthetic biology (at least in our lab) is to both enhance our understanding of biological systems and to develop tools for constructing organisms with defined functions and outputs. In the long term, we hope to develop a set of parts and principles for building eukaryotic cells that might act as novel sensors or memory cells. We also hope to use standardized parts to build novel proteins that could have therapeutic value.
Current projects focus on using the added complexity of eukaryotes (both yeast and mammalian cells) in our designs and include the construction of standardized parts for designer proteins with well-defined functions, a cellular oscillator based on nuclear/cytoplasmic localization, a lifespan counter for analyzing cellular aging, and a cell-based memory device. (Ira Phillips, Caroline Ajo-Franklin, Dirk Landgraf, Caleb Kennedy, Bruno Afonso, Dave Drubin).