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20.109 Spring 2007


Han Zhu

Tennis is awesome. I'm on the left.



Year of Graduation



hnzhu AT mit DOT edu


Detroit (Canton), Michigan



Subjects this Term

UROP (credit)


Current Project:

  • Langer Lab
    • embryonic stem cell differentiation and scaffolding

Previous Projects:

  • Edelman Lab (HST)
    • vascular wound healing/biochemical interactions of endothelial and smooth muscle cells
    • Finite Element Electrocardiogram Software Simulator (FE ECG Sim)


MIT Medlinks
MIT Chinese Choral Society
MIT Sport Taekwondo

M13K07 Genome Engineering Plans:

Media:Han Zhu_refactor_M13.doc

Gene Function Re-Engineering Plans
I assembly Gene I possesses a promoter (Edens et al, 1978). Replace promoter with promoters of known genes that giving various levels of expression (constitutive, uninducible, inducible upon certain environmental conditions) in order to control the amount of membrane channel formation. This would allow us to control the amount of phage secretion (related to the rate of phage infection) from the host.
II replication of DNA + strand One way to control rate of phage infection is to control replication of phage DNA based on stimuli from the environment. Assuming gene II also has a promoter, we could implement a strategy similar to that used for gene I.
III phage tail protein Modify in such a way that would allow us to directly control the length of the phages that shed from the E. coli host. For instance, we could delay the time at which the p3/p6 cap is added by making p3 expression a function of environmental cues such as ionic strength or pH. We would also have to take the effect this would have on the infection process since p3 is also the protein which binds to the TolA protein on the bacterial pilus.
IV assembly Mutate to make certain strains of M13 that are sensitive to detergent and can only grow in detergent-free environments. Likewise, make certain strains of M13 that are not only resistant to detergent, but also to other potentially harmful substances in the environment. Must be sure not to mutate the end of the gene because that would affect gene I.
V binds ssDNA Modify expression so that we can control the amount of time the virus DNA spends inside the host (as opposed to actively being packaged and spreading to other bacteria).
VI phage tail protein Control the frequency at which it binds to p3, thus controlling the efficiency of p3. (See III for more details on what ramifications controlling p3 would have.)
VII phage head protein Add sequence to code for additional residues to add to the N-terminal end (could form the basis for building nano-wires or long filaments of other useful materials. Must be careful when inserting sequence since VII is coupled to IX.
VIII phage coat protein Add a tag that increases the affinity of the virus coat to various elements that could form nano-constructs. Must be careful when modifying since the sequence of VIII is coupled to that of IX.
IX phage head protein Could implement an idea similar to the one for VII, since they both can have residues added to their N-terminal end, and are similar in size and function. Must be careful when modifying since the sequence of IX is coupled to that of VII and VIII.
X DNA replication Modify to add another level of regulation for phage propagation. This, coupled with control of II, could allow complex control of the life cycle behavior of the virus.
XI assembly Can make modifications of similar effect as I (playing around with different levels of expression to regulate membrane channels.)

Module 4

20.109:Final Project