March 27, 2015
Speaker: Tal Danino, Postdoctoral Fellow, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, MIT
Rapid advances in the field of synthetic biology have enabled the design and construction of genetic circuits capable of generating programmed behavior in microbes. Concurrently, the last decade of microbiome research has revealed an astounding prevalence of microbes in diverse tissues previously thought to be sterile, such as solid tumors. These two emergent fields have prompted the exploration of microbes as a natural platform for the development of engineered therapies and diagnostics. In this research talk, I will describe our progress towards a new design framework for engineering microbial gene circuits that bridges computational modeling and in vitro characterization, to diagnostic and therapeutic applications for cancer in vivo. The talk will begin with a description of a bacterial gene circuit that generates synchronized oscillations, and will then describe development of programmed bacteria as both diagnostic and therapeutic agents for cancer.
Dr. Tal Danino is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Sangeeta Bhatia's laboratory at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. He received undergraduate degrees in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics from University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Bioengineering while in Jeff Hasty's laboratory at the University of California, San Diego.