ENGINEERED GENETIC SYSTEMS FOR RAPID EVOLUTION, CHEMICAL BIOLOGY, SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY, AND CELL BIOLOGY
We engineer specialized genetic systems that go beyond what nature’s genetic systems can do. We are especially interested in creating living cells that dramatically accelerate the speed of evolution, that reinterpret the genetic code, and that can record transient information as heritable genetic mutations. We apply these cells to the discovery of useful biomolecules, biopolymers, and therapeutics; the study of molecular evolution; cell and developmental biology; and the creation of synthetic life. Our research spans the fields of genetic engineering, synthetic biology, chemical biology, cell biology, and directed evolution.
Key questions that guide our research: What does the map between macromolecular sequence and function look like? How are nearly-infinite high dimensional sequence spaces, such as those defining RNA and protein function, productively searched? How does a gene’s evolutionary past shape its future? How does a cell’s past experiences influence its developmental future?