Engineering of Biological Devices

Seminar | April 24 | 12-1 p.m. | 106 Stanley Hall

 Assaf Gilad, Michigan State University

 Bioengineering (BioE)

We are interested in exploring the possibility of using biological tissues and cells to replace electronic devices. We are developing biological parts (“bio-parts”) for better design of diagnostic tools, controlled release of biological agents, metabolites, neurotropic factors, cytokines and drugs as well as for controlling cell fate and differentiation. The countless variations of protein sequences and structures, both natural and synthetic, open the possibility to exploit electromagnetic energy for developing new research tools. We bioengineer switches that allow cellular and gene modulations, for example, switches that are based on a recently discovered single gene that is responsive to electromagnetic fields (Krishnan, Scientific Reports, 2018). For measuring cellular output, we have designed a toolbox of non-metallic, genetically encoded reporters for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) both artificial (Gilad, Nature Biotechnology, 2007; Airan, Mag. Res. Med., 2012) and naturally occurring (Bar-Shir, ACS. Chem. Bio., 2014). By rational design, we expanded this concept for developing imaging probes for the detection of specific enzymes (Liu, JACS, 2011; Bar-Shir, JACS 2013, and Nature Protocols 2014), and drugs (Ngen, Mol. Pharm., 2016). We apply these novel tools, that allow to create an interface between electronic and biologic components both for input and output, to develop biological devices.