Year: 2016

News: Synthetic Biology And Cancer Treatment: Bottlenecks To Translation

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global_engage_logoL. Berry, 11.16.16, Global Engage. Karmella Haynes, at the Arizona State University, is one of the first synthetic biologists to engineer chromatin. It is a development that could ultimately treat diseases like cancer, through enabling large-scale changes in gene expression.

Read more at Global Engage.


Dear students: if you see me at the protest today

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I’ll begin with two key points:

  1. Students who defend diversity and social justice, this professor supports you.
  2. A professor (myself) will be at today’s campus protest. I will not have a sign and I will not be chanting. I will be taking photos. Sometimes protests spark dangerous situations; sometimes people will only act their worst when they think no one of authority is watching.

On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Shortly after, several walk-outs and protests have occurred. Before you assume that people are simply pouting over “not getting their way,” consider that there are many reasons why people protest. Protesting the election result isn’t my reason. As far as I understand, any vote-rigging and election fraud that may have occurred happened as must as has happened in other elections. Fixing these instances would still yield the same outcome.

My motivation to participate is to be on the better side of the international image of the USA. When the message is “we are not Trump” I support that.

A professor from Columbia University published an open letter to his students that I feel echoes my own sentiments and is very inspiring. Please live a wonderful day today with your humanity principles to lead it.


Dr. Karmella Haynes

News: Intent on Making Big Impacts

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J. Kullman, 11.04.16, Full Circle: Alyssa Henning earned a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering from Cornell University and a master’s degree in agricultural and biological engineering from Penn State University. She chose to come to ASU to pursue a doctoral degree in biological design in the Fulton Schools in large part because of the opportunity to work with faculty members whose expertise is in the emerging field of synthetic biology. At Cornell she got involved in the top collegiate synthetic biology challenge — the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition, known as iGEM — which led her to meet synthetic biologist and Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Karmella Haynes.

Read more at ASU Full Circle.

Science Friday to feature CRISPR research from the Haynes Lab

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Dr. Karmella Haynes will discuss the lab’s latest research at the interface of chromatin engineering and CRISPR with Science Friday host Ira Flatow this Friday, November 4th on Public Radio International (PRI). Arizona listeners can tune in to NPR station KJZZ at 12 noon to listen.

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Haynes Lab Members to Present Research at 2016 EBRC Retreat

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ebrc_logo3Several Haynes lab members including Cassandra Barrett, Rene Daer, David Nyer, Stefan Tekel, and Daniel Vargas will be presenting research at a 2016 Fall Retreat organized by the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC). The retreat will take place at CalTech in Pasadena, CA November 1 – 3, 2016. EBRC members include some of the most prestigious labs in synthetic biology. Attendees will come from academic, industry, and government institutions from across the country.

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Research – ACS Synthetic Biology – The impact of chromatin dynamics on Cas9-mediated genome editing in human cells

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BioRxiv_Daer2016The impact of chromatin dynamics on Cas9-mediated genome editing in human cells
Daer RM, Cutts JP, Brafman DA, Haynes KA (2016) ACS Synthetic Biology. 6:428–438. doi:10.1021/acssynbio.5b00299

We used a chromatin switch system to compare the efficiency of human gene editing (via CRISPR/Cas9) before and after DNA had become packaged with nuclear proteins. The DNA-nuclear protein complex (called chromatin) ‘turns the dials’ of gene expression. Here, we discovered that this dialing mechanism can also disrupt artificial genome editing. We also found that readjusting chromatin could restore gene editing, which has implications for improving CRISPR for use in stem cell genomes, where key genes are often tightly packaged in chromatin.

Related resources:

Dr. Haynes to Present at 3rd Synthetic Biology Congress in London UK

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Coputer generated model of deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA

Dr. Haynes has been invited to speak at the 3rd Synthetic Biology Congress on October 20 – 21, 2016 in London, UK. She will present “Regulation of cancer epigenomes with a histone-binding synthetic transcription factor.” The Synthetic Biology Congress will highlight the latest developments in genome engineering, technological development, cell building, bio-manufacturing and gene editing. The meeting will host experts from across the globe who specialize in healthcare and plant biology.

Slides from Dr. Haynes’ presentation, as well as other talks, are available online: