Dr. Haynes has been invited to Alberta, Canada to evaluate and offer guidance for several student synthetic biology projects at the aGEM workshop, organized by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures. The workshop prepares Canadian high school and college teams for the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition in October. “aGEM” (Alberta’s own mini-iGEM) is presented by MindFuel and the GeekStarter program, which helps the next generation of scientists innovate new technologies. Student teams apply to the program in order to receive funding and access to GeekStarter events. The aGEM workshop takes place at the University of Calgary, Foothills Campus on September 17 – 18, 2016.
Haynes lab PhD student Rene Daer will present a talk at the 2016 American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) meeting, one of the largest annual scientific meetings in the US. Her abstract “The impact of chromatin dynamics on Cas9-mediated genome editing in human cells,” was selected for an oral presentation in the Minisymposium entitled, “Use Synthetic Biology to Measure and Manipulate Cell Biology” under the topic Synthetic and Systems Biology. The meeting will be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA, from December 3-7.
Please consider registering for this conference. Poster abstracts will be accepted until October 13, 2016.
Preprint – bioRxiv – Regulation of cancer epigenomes with a histone-binding synthetic transcription factor
Regulation of cancer epigenomes with a histone-binding synthetic transcription factor.
Nyer DB, Vargas D, Hom C, Haynes KA. (2016) bioRxiv. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/072975
This work expands our 2011 report in many important ways. We studied the behavior of PcTF, a synthetic chromatin protein that we designed, in bone, blood, and brain cancer-derived cells. We discovered that PcTF activates a key tumor suppressor, CASZ1 in all three cell types, as well as other silenced genes. We expected to see PcTF bind to methylated histones, but instead saw strong signals closer to gene promoters. However, PcTF activity still requires the methyl-histone binding domain to interact with its targets. This new information has advanced our understanding of how a synthetic histone-binding protein behaves in human cells.
Preprint – bioRxiv – The impact of chromatin dynamics on Cas9-mediated genome editing in human cells
The impact of chromatin dynamics on Cas9-mediated genome editing in human cells
Daer RM, Cutts JP, Brafman DA, Haynes KA (2016) bioRxiv. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/071464
We used a chromatin switch system to compare the efficiency of human gene editing (via CRISPR/Cas) before and after DNA had become packaged with nuclear proteins. The DNA-protein complex (chromatin) ‘turns the dials’ of gene expression. Here, we discovered that this dialing mechanism can also disrupt artificial genome editing. We readjusted chromatin and restored gene editing, which has implications for improving CRISPR applications for stem cell genomes where key genes are often tightly packaged.
Dr. Haynes and Research Technician David Nyer have been invited to give a talk and a poster at the 2016 Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution & Design (SEED) conference in Chicago, IL July 18-21, 2016.
Congratulations to Haynes lab PhD student Daniel Vargas, who has been invited to give a poster presentation at the Third Mammalian Synthetic Biology Workshop (MSBW3.0) at MIT in Boston, MA May 21-21, 2016. He will present the group’s latest work on investigating the dynamics of epigenetic regulation in human cells. Daniel is a second-year graduate student in the Biological Design program. Special thanks to the Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities (WAESO) for supporting his travel expenses.