Cassandra Barrett (Haynes lab PhD student, Biological Design) and Dr. Karmella Haynes will be presenting their latest work at the 2nd Epigenetics and Bioengineering Conference (EpiBio 2018) in San Francisco, CA at the Mission Bay Conference Center on October 4 – 6. The conference is presented by the Society for Biological Engineering (SBE). A great line-up of research talks and posters will include work from engineers and scientists who are applying the discipline of bioengineering to epigenetics. Cassandra Barrett will present a talk entitled “Active versus Accessible: Engineering Open Chromatin in Mammalian Cells.” Dr. Haynes will present a talk on “Histone-Binding Domains as Modules for Custom Fusion Proteins.” Registration is still available online, or attendees can register on site.
Dr. Haynes has been invited to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to present a talk entitled “Investigating the behavior and impact of rationally-designed histone ‘readers’ in the context of cancer epigenomes” for the Current Biology Seminar series on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 in Pelton Auditorium. The seminar will be hosted by the Basic Sciences Division.
Synthetic biology is a field that aims to use what basic research has taught us about DNA and proteins to design and build “living nanotech” that controls cell behavior. Dr. Haynes was invited to present her latest work on synthetic proteins to control gene expression in cancer as part of the Mayo Clinic‘s “Science of Medicine” seminar series. She presented a talk entitled “Engineered chromatin systems to support epigenetic therapy of cancer” on Thursday, May 24, 2018 in the Johnson Research Building and visited with several outstanding Mayo Clinic researchers to discuss the intersection of protein engineering with epigenetic medicine to treat mixed myeloid leukemias and other devastating cancers. Haynes hopes to continue such conversations so that her research can be informed by clinical needs, and even become part of new clinical collaborations.
Haynes lab members Cassandra Barrett and Stefan Tekel will be presenting research at a 2018 Spring Retreat organized by the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC). The retreat will take place at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA March 23 – 24, 2018. 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.
Dr. Haynes has been invited to present her research at the International Conference on Epigenetics and Bioengineering (EpiBio 2017) in Miami, FL. The conference is presented by the Society of Biological Engineering (SBE). EpiBio 2017 is a forum for engineers and scientists who are applying bioengineering to the area of epigenetics and chromatin. Dr. Haynes will present a talk entitled “Synthetic Readers and Writers of Chromatin to Advance Cell Engineering” on Wednesday, December 13.
Dr. Haynes has been invited to present her group’s latest research on the efficacy of CRISPR editing of human DNA at the 2017 Southeastern Regional Meeting of the ACS (SERMACS) Synthetic Biology Symposium on Thursday, November 9, 2017 in Charlotte, NC. Using a synthetic, regulatable DNA packing system Dr. Haynes and her team, including lead grad student Rene Daer, discovered that chromatin structures similar to those found at stem cell genes can block CRISPR from access to DNA (Daer et al 2017 ACS Synthetic Biology; featured on PRI Science Friday). This can pose a problem for gene therapy and tissue engineering. In her talk “Manipulation of chromatin to enhance CRISPR activity” Dr. Haynes will present a review of these findings as well as recent results from experiments to counteract chromatin and enhance CRISPR activity. The NIH NCI Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program (GMaP) provided an award to support Dr. Haynes’ travel.
Dr. Haynes has been awarded a mini-grant for RNA-seq analysis of cancer cells that have been treated with a synthetic protein that her group has engineered. Stefan Tekel, a PhD student in the Biological Design Program, is credited for the work that lies at the heart of this project. He engineered a cell-penetrating version of the protein that can be produced at low cost in E. coli bacteria, purified, and then added (as a solution) directly to cancer cells. The group aims to use the RNA-seq to apply for a major grant in the near future.