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Meeting Info

  • When: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 from 7:30 to 9
  • Where: Y2E2 Rm 105
  • Leaders: Ming
  • Secretary: Mark

Ideas for Meeting

  • 5x5 presentations

5x5 Presentation Topics

(10 min) -



Announcements: Friday 6 pm iGEM dinner near Red Mango Krung Siam - meet at Toyon if you want to bike

To do: If haven’t done so, meet with grad student Make account on Open Wet Ware

Presentations: Joe – Bioluminescence Oxidation of luciferin by luciferinase Cold light – little/no heat released Use luciferin because genes can be inserted into organisms Applications: whole animal imaging; splice gene into specific cell types Crazy: plants synth ATP; use that ATP for luminescence – city lighting, night lights, etc. Practical: modify bacteria to monitor chemical levels: bioluminescent bacteria modified to be selective towards certain chemicals Prosaic: use to track pests, non-native invasive species Q: how to make it stop glowing? A: organisms with luciferin glow on a Circadian rhythm

Robert – Engineering Viruses The Problem: Cancers -> brain tumors, current therapy is costly and not effective Solution: The brain is isolated from the immune system (blood brain barrier); vector will be safe from immune system? Bacterial vectors less robust than viral vectors 5 subprojects: 1. target brain tumors 2. regulate virus (when in dormant vs. lytic stages) 3. delivery mechanism 4. selectable marker to track virus and treatment progress 5. open Nghi: tag tumor cells with bioluminescence as selectable marker, since tumor cells horde resources and therefore may be better at taking up bioluminescent gene; decrease in luminescence can be signal of effectiveness

Suzie – working with telomeres and cell viability Telomeres serve as caps to chromosomes and promote cell/chromosomal viability They shorten with every cell division Telomerase – reverse transcriptase that synth telomere repeats Known: stem cells and other self-renewing tissue cells express telomerase Telomerase downregulated with differentiation, but upregulated in cancer cells When too short, uncapped conformation, activate apoptosis Problems: regulation changes throughout cell cycle Crazy: enzyme cut off telomeres with sticky ends, use virus to deliver these sticky pieces into target cell and add on to chromosomes Practical: increase length of telomeres in bacteria commonly used in engineering, making these subjects easier to work with and more robust

Anusuya – carbon sequestration Basics of cement production: combine raw materials (bauxite, minerals, binding material) to create clinker pulp. Heat to high temperatures to finish clinker. Environmental problems: two reactions to create cement: calcining of limestone to lime and carbon dioxide, formations of calcium silicates and side products (i.e. flue gas) Treatment of flue gas: scrubbers that have catalysts that bind to pollutants such as nitrogen oxides. Solution: carbon sequestration – use carbonic anhydrase to bind carbon dioxide to form carbonic acid. Can we take this enzyme and transplant it into nonliving systems? Stanford’s Calera Crazy: inducing E. coli to express carbonic anhydrase and place bacteria in cement as it is being made

Ariana – Expanding the Metabolic Repertoire with Unnatural Amino Acids Goal: to bioengineer a metabolic pathway in cells that enables them to incorporate unnatural amino acids into their proteome; efficiency, fidelity, and autonomy are desired. Requisites: unique tRNA: codon pair, corresponding aminoacyl-tRNA syntehtase, significant intracellular conc. of unnatural amino acid Considerations: specificity: must be entirely orthogonal (won’t get confused), stability of each factor, functional, efficient

Brainstorm session Do yeasts have viruses? Bioluminescent palm-trees? Biolight – bioluminescent light bulbs Quorum sensing; when bacteria come together, then they glow -Polka dots -CAM plants have genes that are sensitive to light? Link activation of genes to other functional genes