Student Research

Haynes lab will present research at the 2018 EpiBio Conference

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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.

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Stefan Tekel invited as TA for 2018 CSHL Synthetic Biology summer course

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Stefan Tekel, a Biodesign graduate student in the Haynes lab, will be joining a team of four professors and teaching assistants this year at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He will serve as teaching assistant for a CSHL Synthetic Biology Summer Course module led by Dr. Karmella Haynes. The module, called “Chromatin – Design, Build, Test” features Stefan’s latest first-authored work as the main topic. CSHL students will learn how to design and construct fusion proteins, produce these in a cell-free expression system, and test the proteins’ activities in a biochemical assay. Several new, unpublished designs will be tested, and successful candidate proteins will be used to control gene expression in a cultured human cell line. The TA position is a very prestigious and unique opportunity to meet leaders in synthetic biology (invited speakers) and to explore new projects while teaching synthetic biology lab techniques to a select group of talented students.

Kimberly Olney receives a 2018 ARCS award

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Congratulations to Kimberly Olney (PhD, SOLS) who just received a 2018 Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Award.  Kimberly is a graduate student who studies genomics and bioinformatics under the mentorship of Dr. Melissa Wilson Sayres, and has collaborated with the Haynes lab to discover genes that are controlled by synthetic chromatin regulators in breast cancer.

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Fatima Hamna receives a 2018 MORE fellowship for Master’s research

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Congratulations to Fatima Hamna (Master’s, Biomedical Engineering) who will be joining the Haynes lab this summer with support from the new Master’s Opportunity for Research in Engineering (MORE). She will receive a stipend, materials and supplies, and the opportunity for travel support to present at a research conference.

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Haynes Lab Students Presenting Research at Spring 2018 EBRC Retreat in Seattle

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ebrc_logo3Haynes 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.

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Research – PLOS ONE – Characterization of Diverse Homoserine Lactone Synthases in Escherichia coli

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Characterization of Diverse Homoserine Lactone Synthases in Escherichia coli
Daer R, Barrett CM, Melendez EL, Wu J, Tekel SJ, Xu J, Dennison B, Muller R, Haynes KA. (2018) PLOS ONE. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202294

The Haynes lab focuses on advanced chromosome engineering in human cells, but also provides opportunities for undergraduates to learn synthetic biology using simpler organisms like bacteria (E. coli). In this paper, the 2016 ASU International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Competition team and their graduate advisors report their work to identify useful, new cell-cell communication components to use in engineered systems. Homoserine lactone (HSL) synthases appear as a wide variety of different forms in the bacterial kingdom, and produce various chemical signals that regulate genes in neighboring bacteria. When these are combined to build synthetic circuits in a common lab strain (E. coli), the signals are sometimes not produced as expected. Therefore, it is important to systematically characterize HSL synthases in context. The team also used experiments to identify the most effective way to neutralize unused HSLs in biological waste. The ten HSL synthases characterized in this paper were contributed to public collections for use by the scientific community.

Related resources:

  1. Pre-print: Characterization of Diverse Homoserine Lactone Synthases in Escherichia coli. bioRxiv. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/03/09/279349

Haynes lab undergad researcher Jiaqi Wu receives prestigous Bidstrup Fellowship

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Jiaqi Wu, a computer science major who is fascinated with computational biology and bioinformatics, has been awarded a prestigious Bidstrup Undergraduate Fellowship for academic year 2017 – 2018.  This award is a testament to the outstanding commitment to academic excellence made by Jiaqi and Dr. Haynes as a faculty-student team. Read the rest of this entry »