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Scalable platforms for generating RNA sensors and controllers

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm


Christina D. Smolke, Ph.D.
Professor (Research) of Bioengineering and, by courtesy, of Chemical Engineering
Stanford University


Biosensors are key components in engineered biological systems that interface with the large biochemical space in living cells and their environment. Aptamers, functional nucleic acid molecules that bind ligands, provide a powerful sensing element for many classes of molecules of interest. Although procedures such as SELEX have been quite successful in generating individual aptamers that bind proteins, generating small molecule aptamers has been more challenging due to the need to chemically modify the ligand to permit the recovery of binding sequences. I will introduce a new method for de novo rapid in vitro evolution of RNA biosensors (DRIVER) that enables multiplexed discovery of biosensors for unmodified ligands without immobilization. I will also showcase how DRIVER-selected biosensors can be used for a variety of applications, including gene expression control, enzyme evolution, closed-loop control systems of synthetic metabolic pathways, modulating viral infectivity, triggering CRISPR/Cas9 genome modification, and producing highly multiplexed diagnostic assays.

The page was last updated on Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 11:37am