Our research combines synthetic biology with advanced imaging techniques to study problems associated with information transfer at the molecular level in biology.
Our research efforts are aimed at two major fields:
- Synthetic enhancer circuits – Deciphering the regulatory code is one of the great challenges of our time. Our approach is to “hack” this algorithm using the tools of synthetic biology. We do this by designing novel DNA regulatory sequences using characterized components, and testing if our “program” displays the predicted regulatory response. At present, this translates to constructing synthetic enhancer elements from the ground up in bacteria, and coupling them to gene circuits to generate increasingly complex modules. In the future, we intend to expand this work to embryos with a long-term goal of developing therapeutic applications.
- Live tracking of RNA – We approach this problem by utilizing synthetic biology and advanced microscopy methods in order to simultaneously develop a specialized system of genetically encoded fluorescent probes, whose output will be detected by a dedicated imaging system. Our probes will be designed to report interactions of RNA molecules at the single molecule level, and as a result enable quantitative intra-cellular dynamical tracking of RNA and its myriad of biological function and roles.