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My most recent students conduct research in field of synthetic biology. I have a few related student projects underway as part of our NSF-funded grant Synthetic Biology Research for Undergraduate (SyBR-U). We meet weekly to discuss the interactions between math and biology during our BioMath Connections video conference with collaborators at Missouri Western State University.

For the iGEM2007 team, 6 students at Davidson College (Oyinade Adefuye {NCCU student}, Will DeLoache, Jim Dickson, Andrew Martens, Amber Shoecraft {JCSU student}, and Mike Waters) worked in collaboration with students at Missouri Western State University to design and build a bacterial computer that could solve the Hamiltonian Path Problem: given a directed graph (see below), is it possible to visit every node exactly once when starting and stopping at particular nodes?

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We all learned a lot, and in the end it appears we were successful in our project. Cells flipped the DNA and presented the appropriate phenotypes. You can download the PPT slide show and the PPT poster for more details.

In the summer of 2006, 3 students (Erin, Sabriya, and Lance) began an exciting new project to construct an E. coli computer. You can read more about their work from the Davidson team's wiki page or viewing their iGEM 2006 presentation. The key was to integrate biology and mathematics. This project continued in the fall of 2006 when Samantha and Karmella took over preparations for the 2006 iGEM competition at MIT. The project was done in collaboration with Missouri Western State University. One product of the summer was a new web site that helps investigators synthesize short genes from a series of oligos. The web site, created by Lance, facilitates choosing the right oligos to make. Davidson won prizes in 4 categories at the 2006 iGEM competion. You can read a summary of their successes here. During the spring semester, Karen Acker inserted Hix sites inside GFP and TetA(C) genes [read her paper.] Bruce Henschen produced Hix sites that would allow only one flip [read his paper].