Biological Design PhD student Rene Daer just successfully defended her thesis “Expanding Applications of Portable Biological Systems: Enhancements to Mammalian Gene Editing and Bacterial Quorum Sensing” today at 3 – 5 pm in Biological Design Auditorium B. Thank you to all of the friends, family, and colleagues who came to show their support.
This day is especially exciting since Dr. Rene Daer will my (Dr. Haynes’) first PhD graduate. On behalf of the Haynes lab, I hope this training experience launches a fun and fruitful career!
Haynes lab members Alyssa Henning, Ben Nyer, and Dr. Karmella Haynes will be presenting research at a 2017 Fall Retreat organized by the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC). The retreat will take place at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA September 22 – 23, 2017. 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.
Haynes lab PhD student Alyssa Henning (Biological Design) recently participated in local Comic Con and cultural events in Phoenix. The first event was Phoenix Comic Con on May 25 – 28 where she was invited to talk about real-life science as a panelist. At a Japanese pop culture event called Saboten Con (September 4), Alyssa and the Sun Devil Taiko club (of which she is an officer) won an award for their musical performance.
- 05.24.17. Faller, MB. ASU Now: Sun Devil Life. ASU Experts Bring Real-Life Science to Phoenix Comicon.
- 05.28.17. Reiser, L. AZ Family. ASU Student Looks at Science of Comicon.
Research – bioRxiv Pre-print – Activation of tumor suppressor genes in breast cancer cells by a synthetic chromatin effector
Activation of tumor suppressor genes in breast cancer cells by a synthetic chromatin effector
Olney KC, Nyer DB, Wilson Sayres MA, Haynes KA. (2017) bioRxiv. http://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/09/07/186056
Certain types of breast cancer can be difficult to treat because breast cancer cells in different patients are not completely identical. Here, we measured the expression levels of genes in drug responsive and non-responsive (triple-negative) lab-grown breast cancer cells. In agreement with findings from other research groups, we observed that certain groups of genes are commonly or differentially expressed. Importantly, a large group of genes is silenced in breast cancer cells compared to less cancerous cells. In cancers, certain overactive proteins silence genes by inducing tight chromatin packing. We used a synthetic fusion protein called PcTF to bind and disrupt cancer-associated gene silencing. Dozens of genes, including fifteen different anti-cancer genes became activated in all of the cancer cell types, including the triple-negative cells. PcTF has the potential to act as a powerful therapeutic protein (biologic) that activates multiple anti-cancer genes at once.
ASU Full Circle recently highlighted the emerging Molecular, Tissue, and Cellular Bioengineering (MCTB) community at ASU and the second annual MCTB Symposium, co-chaired by Karmella Haynes.
J. Kullman, 07.27.17, ASU Full Circle: There are more technically precise descriptions of what’s at the core of a growing trend broadening the horizons of biomedical engineering than “the soft, squishy side of bioengineering.” But Karmella Haynes and Kaushal Rege still like the way that sums up what they and about 20 other Arizona State University faculty members are increasingly focusing on in their research and teaching.”
Read more at ASU Full Circle.
Molecular structures guide the engineering of chromatin
Tekel SJ and Haynes KA (2017) Nucleic Acids Res. https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkx531
Specialized proteins within the nuclei of human and other eukaryotic cells wrap DNA into a structure called chromatin. For decades, scientists have used biochemistry, genetics, and comparative evolutionary biology to understand the specific interactions and processes that guide the highly-regulated packaging of DNA into chromatin, as well as chromatin features that act to switch gene expression on and off. Basic research has enabled chromatin engineering by rational design for building new tools to further understand chromatin, and for applications such as molecular interventions of cellular disease states. This review highlights key discoveries in chromatin research and engineering efforts that have been supported by this knowledge.
Congratulations to Haynes lab PhD student Rene Daer, who has been invited to give a poster presentation at the 2017 Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution & Design (SEED) conference in Vancouver, Canada May 21-21, 2016. She will present her latest work on manipulating chromatin in human cells to enhance CRISPR efficiency. Rene is a fifth-year graduate student in the Biological Design program.