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Brendan J. Hussey

Joined 21 February 2010

Contact Info

Brendan J. Hussey
  • Brendan J. Hussey
  • Toronto Ontario, Canada.

I am currently a PhD student at the University of Toronto working in synthetic biology with Dr. David McMillen. I learned about OpenWetWare from iGEM and Andrew Hessel, and I've joined because competing in iGEM secured strong interest in synthetic biology. Ever since I have been optimistic for the future of synthetic biology and it has dominated my scientific interests to the extent of me pursuing career in this area.


  • 2010, BSc Honors Molecular Biology & Genetics, Minor Neuroscience, University of Guelph
  • Currently in a chemistry PhD program at the University of Toronto.

Pre-Grad Synthetic Biology Experience

  • Awarded Bronze metal in iGEM 2008 representing the University of Guelph with goal of engineering food grade bacteria to produce beta-carotene. Proof of concept completed in E.coli.
  • Theoretical work on removal/metabolism of small molecule contaminants, particularly contraceptives such as EE2, from wastewater using engineered floc bacteria as part of WEAO competition.
  • "Weekend project". see Pharmbiants - (project suspended: may continue as part of grad work)

Research Interests

Synthetic Biology

  • Introduction and optimization of novel metabolic pathways in microorganisms for production of medically and economically important compounds.
  • Genetic manipulation/rational design of symbiotic bacteria for therapeutic purposes; elaborating host/microbe interactions, controlled drug delivery, etc.
  • Organelle-like, compartmentalization of select metabolic components for introducing modularity and increasing pathway efficiency.
  • Harnessing cellular energy for powering electronics
  • Reliable, targeted gene manipulation in eukaryotes (gene therapy).

Other Interests

  • Epigenetics: particularly of neuroplasticity.
  • Brain-machine interfaces
  • IPSC's

Favorite Synthetic Biology Related Publications

  1. Tabor JJ, Salis HM, Simpson ZB, Chevalier AA, Levskaya A, Marcotte EM, Voigt CA, and Ellington AD. A synthetic genetic edge detection program. Cell. 2009 Jun 26;137(7):1272-81. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2009.04.048 | PubMed ID:19563759 | HubMed [coolpmid]
  2. Ryan RM, Green J, Williams PJ, Tazzyman S, Hunt S, Harmey JH, Kehoe SC, and Lewis CE. Bacterial delivery of a novel cytolysin to hypoxic areas of solid tumors. Gene Ther. 2009 Mar;16(3):329-39. DOI:10.1038/gt.2008.188 | PubMed ID:19177133 | HubMed [coolpmid]
  3. You L, Cox RS 3rd, Weiss R, and Arnold FH. Programmed population control by cell-cell communication and regulated killing. Nature. 2004 Apr 22;428(6985):868-71. DOI:10.1038/nature02491 | PubMed ID:15064770 | HubMed [coolpmid]
  4. Wu YI, Frey D, Lungu OI, Jaehrig A, Schlichting I, Kuhlman B, and Hahn KM. A genetically encoded photoactivatable Rac controls the motility of living cells. Nature. 2009 Sep 3;461(7260):104-8. DOI:10.1038/nature08241 | PubMed ID:19693014 | HubMed [coolpmid]
  5. Dueber JE, Wu GC, Malmirchegini GR, Moon TS, Petzold CJ, Ullal AV, Prather KL, and Keasling JD. Synthetic protein scaffolds provide modular control over metabolic flux. Nat Biotechnol. 2009 Aug;27(8):753-9. DOI:10.1038/nbt.1557 | PubMed ID:19648908 | HubMed [coolpmid]
  6. Kong W, Wanda SY, Zhang X, Bollen W, Tinge SA, Roland KL, and Curtiss R 3rd. Regulated programmed lysis of recombinant Salmonella in host tissues to release protective antigens and confer biological containment. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jul 8;105(27):9361-6. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0803801105 | PubMed ID:18607005 | HubMed [coolpmid]
  7. Fernandes R, Roy V, Wu HC, and Bentley WE. Engineered biological nanofactories trigger quorum sensing response in targeted bacteria. Nat Nanotechnol. 2010 Mar;5(3):213-7. DOI:10.1038/nnano.2009.457 | PubMed ID:20081846 | HubMed [collpmid]
All Medline abstracts: PubMed | HubMed

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