My name is Bruno Afonso and I am at the moment working in the Silver Lab as PhD student, recently moved to the Systems Biology Department @ Quad.
Being an engineer by training I am interested in exploring possible avenues of elegant, reliable and controlled designs that can be realistically and reliably implemented in living organisms. Things that interest me at the moment are:
- Exploring alternative ways of controlling gene expression using mammalian cellular machinery such as RNA interference, chromatin structure and nuclear organization, post-translational changes and post-transcriptional changes. Unfortunately much much less is known about these fantastic "technologies" the cells use as regulatory methods comparing to DNA/promoter-based regulation. That said, it makes these aims more interesting scientifically speaking.
- Understanding the best ways to mathematically model simple systems and understanding how insulated the designs and simulations can be inside a cell
- Evolutionary stability of transgenic organisms. I believe a theoretical framework hasn't yet been developed in this regard. I have thought about multi-dimensional spaces ( as in n-dimensions with n-genes. Though, I'm not sure if n-genes is a good idea...) and trying to understand where the "evolutionary stable plateaus" are - if they exist at all -, if there are more than some or we are constantly jumping thoughout the n-dimensional space. Ideally, this would help us understand
- How to optimize stability throughout time of transgenic organisms
- how to avoid evolutionary genome changes going in directions we don't want to
If you want to discuss any of this matter feel free to email me at my first and last name separated by an underscore at hms dot harvard dot edu.
stay cool until the next update :)