Building New Synthetic Biology Tools with Genome Editing

Seminar | January 10 | 10-11 a.m. | 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

 Stephanie Tzouanas Schmidt, Stanford University

 Bioengineering (BioE)

Motivated by the intricacy and complexity of cellular differentiation, I am broadly interested in technology development for measuring and tracking cellular decision-making. My current research focuses on applying genome editing to engineer new tools for synthetic biology and genomics; in my talk, I will present two recent projects. In the first, I used CRISPR/Cas9 to write a cell’s lineage into its genome and create updatable sequence barcodes. I tested our approach in C. elegans and showed that our updating barcodes captured the specification of its intestinal lineage. In addition, I mathematically modeled and simulated these systems to explore their coding capacity. I will highlight the potential of CRISPR-enabled barcoding and how forthcoming versions of this technique can be improved. In the second project, I discovered IgnaviCas9, a novel Cas9 protein from a hyperthermophilic Ignavibacterium. IgnaviCas9 is a valuable addition to the CRISPR/Cas9 toolbox, significantly expands the temperature range at which genome editing is possible, and enables improved molecular biology and genomics workflows.