Latest Posts

All Posts

Designer PUF Proteins for Any RNA Target

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Jun 17, 2014 3:57:00 PM

With the meteoric rise of CRISPR technology, the ability to direct enzymes – from nucleases to transcription factors – to specific sequences of DNA has become commonplace. This ability has opened up a world of possibilities in the engineering of complex gene networks. A comparable system for targeting specific sequences of RNA is highly desirable for extending the complexity of genetic circuits, allowing for tighter spatio-temporal control of gene expression within a cell. Thanks to the work of Huimin Zhao and colleagues, we now have just the tool…designer PUF proteins!

A newly available PUF Assembly Kit makes it possible to devise RNA binding proteins to hit any target of interest. The new tool was developed and implemented by applying the Golden Gate cloning method to human proteins known as Pumilio/fem-3 mRNA binding factors (PUF). In a single step, researchers can now assemble designer PUF domains for RNA specificity engineering.

“The RNA binding domain is interesting because by changing certain amino acids you can change the specificity,” explained Zhanar Abil of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Read More >

Topics: Plasmid Technology, Synthetic Biology, Plasmid Kits

Interview: Nicola Patron on Plant Synthetic Biology, MoClo, and More

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Jun 12, 2014 11:30:00 AM

Nicola Patron is Head of Synthetic Biology at the Sainsbury Laboratory, where she often feels more like an engineer than a biologist. Their focus at the lab is on plant-pathogen interactions, and her aim is to produce constructs and edit genomes so as to make plants, and agricultural crops in particular, resistant to disease. They also devise biosensors designed to elucidate the molecular interactions that go on between plants and their pathogens.

As Patron explains it, her work has always been focused on gene transfer, from transgenes to plants, chloroplast to the nucleus, or pathogens to their hosts. I spoke with her about what motivates her research, the MoClo Kit she and Sylvestre Marillonnet share with the scientific community via Addgene, the struggles of plant scientists and how they work to overcome them, and why she spends some of her time engaging with others on Twitter, among other things.

Read More >

Topics: Plasmid Technology, Scientific Sharing, Synthetic Biology, Plant Biology, Plasmid Kits

London Calling - Addgene’s New Europe Office in London

Posted by Benoit Giquel on Jun 10, 2014 11:20:00 AM

You’ve called. You’ve emailed. And Addgene has been there to answer your plasmid questions. But until now, you’ve always had to call the United States - Cambridge, MA to be exact. Today, that changes.

Today, Addgene launches a brand new Europe office located in London and operated in collaboration with LGC Standards. And now you’ll be able to call us - Benoit Giquel and Emma Markham - the newest Addgenies. Got a question at 9:00am GMT? We’ll be poised and ready to answer your questions about Addgene, plasmids, and depositing (all while our US counterparts are still sleeping).

Plasmid Sharing in Europe: Addgene’s Request Statistics

Since 2004, Addgene has shipped more than 75,000 plasmids to more than 1,500 different institutions in Europe. In the last four years alone, the number of plasmids distributed to Europe has doubled going from 9,500 in 2010 to more than 20,000 in 2013. And the number of plasmids requested by scientists based in Europe over the first five months of 2014 reaffirms this trend.

Read More >

Topics: Scientific Sharing, Inside Addgene

Story of a SynBio Startup: RevBio's Epiphany (or Lack Thereof)

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jun 5, 2014 11:32:00 AM

This post was contributed by Nikolai Braun and Keira Havens, co-founders of Revolution Bioengineering. 

Last year we started a company. Revolution Bioengineering is two responsible adults in their 30s who have quit their academic science careers in order to head to Ireland and take a chance as entrepreneurs. To make things more interesting, we are working in a new technical discipline that nobody understands (synthetic biology), building a product no one has ever seen before (flowers that change color throughout the day) and doing this with very little money. So when did inspiration strike us so hard that we upended our lives and took this daring risk? What moment changed our whole outlook on the possibilities in life for employment? 

It never happened – there was never a “moment”. But there were a lot of very small steps.

Read More >

Topics: Career, Synthetic Biology, Career Readiness

Developing Transferable Skills During Science Training

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Jun 3, 2014 10:14:00 AM

You are finishing your PhD or perhaps you have almost completed a postdoctoral position… or two. You have learned a lot. Whether you are pursuing an academic career path or moving in a nonacademic direction, there are many “transferable” skills you have developed in addition to learning how to be a scientist. Why not stack the deck in your favor? Look for opportunities to practice transferable skills in ways that will also enhance your science training and that will put you in position to pursue a diverse set of career paths.

Check out Joanne's Reddit AMA

Here are some concrete things you can do to develop those transferable skills while you are also learning to be an excellent scientist.

Read More >

Topics: Career, Career Readiness

Blog Logo Vertical-01.png

Subscribe to Our Blog