Haynes Lab

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Our group uses synthetic, systems, and quantitative biology to engineer useful gene and protein-based biological devices and to deepen our understanding of molecular cell biology. We operate biological devices primarily in human/ mammalian cells. Accelerating the pace of therapeutic technologies (such as tissue regeneration and customizable protein-based drugs) via modular design is the grand challenge that shapes our research plans.


Synthetic chromatin for cell differentiation

  • David Barclay (FURI & SynBERC, BS) - pancreas, Jan Simper (FURI, BS) - iPSC's
  • Description: Testing the "PcTF" synthetic chromatin protein/transcription activator described in Haynes & Silver 2011 to determine its ability to alter the phenotypes of healthy cells, such as cell fate switching from alpha cells to beta cells in the pancreas to treat diabetes or the growing of programmable "organoids" from and transfection of iPS cells to enhance current measurements of pluripotency.

Editing synthetic genes using CRISPR

  • René Davis (Biological Design, PhD)
  • Description: Characterizing chromatin/CRISPR interactions. Re-engineering synthetic gene circuits in human cells using CRISPR.

Engineering synthetic chromatin transcription factors

  • Cameron Gardner (FURI, BS)
  • Description: Building and testing re-engineered versions of the "PcTF" synthetic chromatin protein/ transcription activator described in Haynes & Silver 2011.

Microbial communication with synthetic quorum sensing

  • René Davis (Biological Design, PhD), Ryan Muller (SOLUR, BS)
  • Description: Characterizing cross-talk between decoupled cell-cell communication systems from bacteria.

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