Dr. Haynes Invited to “aGEM” Workshop in Canada

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geekstartercmyktransparentcroppedDr. 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.

Rene Daer to present at the 2016 ASCB meeting

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ASCB2016Haynes 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.

Research – Nature – Regulation of cancer epigenomes with a histone-binding synthetic transcription factor

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Figure6_finalRegulation of cancer epigenomes with a histone-binding synthetic transcription factor.
Nyer DB, Daer R, Vargas D, Hom C, Haynes KA. (2017) Nature Genomic Medicine. http://rdcu.be/oqv7

This work expands our 2011 report in many important ways. We studied the behavior of a synthetic chromatin protein that we designed called PcTF in bone, blood, and brain cancer-derived cells. We expected to see PcTF bind to methylated histones, but instead saw strong signals closer to histone-free gene promoters. However, PcTF activity still required the methyl-histone binding domain to interact with its targets. It appears that PcTF bridges methylated histone signals with the transcription complex. We also discovered that PcTF activates a key tumor suppressor, CASZ1 as well as other silenced genes in all three cancer cell types. This new information has advanced our understanding of how a potentially therapeutic histone-binding protein behaves in cancer cells.

Related resources:

  • Pre-print: 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
  • News: Zrioka P. ASU In The Loop. Karmella Haynes Publishes Paper on Custom-built, Therapeutic Proteins for Cancer Treatment. Link

Haynes Lab to present at SEED 2016

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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.

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Daniel Vargas to present at MSBW3.0

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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.

Congratulations Spring 2016 Graduates!

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Congratulations to David Barclay, Baylee Murphy, Mara Peterson, and Jan Simper, all graduating seniors who did research in the Haynes lab.

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Text Book – Synthetic Biology Handbook

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A new educational resource for the growing field of synthetic biology, the “Synthetic Biology Handbook,” has just been released. The chapter on mammalian synthetic biology was co-authored by Dr. Karmella Haynes, SBHSE PhD student Rene Daer, lead editor Darren Nesbeth, Desmond Schofield, Alexander Templar, and Yanika Borg.

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