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Synthetic Biology, Artificial Chromosomes, iGEM & More - Interview with Tom Ellis

Posted by Tyler Ford on Nov 29, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Today’s episode of the Addgene Podcast features guest host and Addgene European Outreach Scientist, Benoit Giquel. Traveling from our offices just outside of London, it was a short journey for Benoit to interview Addgene Advisory Board Member and lead researcher at Imperial College London, Dr. Tom Ellis. Dr. Ellis does research in synthetic biology and bioengineering including a recent effort to construct a synthetic yeast chromosome. Listen to learn more about Dr. Ellis, synthetic biology, synthetic chromosomes, and obstacles to becoming an academic researcher.

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Topics: Synthetic Biology, Podcast

A Deep Dive into BioBuilder

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 11, 2017 9:44:02 AM

This post was contributed by Mary Tamer from BioBuilder, an innovative nonprofit bringing the study of synthetic biology into the hands of students and teachers in the U.S. and beyond.

“I want to learn more about Synthetic Biology. Can you tell me where to start?” is a question more and more students are asking. Teachers are also asking, “How do I engage my students in real-world lab activities? I’m trying to inspire them and also keep up with all the new biotechnology.”

These are the types of inquiries that routinely hit the inbox at the BioBuilder Educational Foundation. With a goal of “bringing tomorrow’s science into today’s classrooms,” BioBuilder answers the call by offering a variety of educational programs all focused on current questions and experiments in the field of synthetic biology.

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Topics: Synthetic Biology, Science Communication

Kwabena Duedu on Public Health, Biofuels, and Doing Science in Ghana

Posted by Tyler Ford on Dec 20, 2016 10:30:00 AM

In this episode of the Addgene Podcast, we sit down with Kwabena Duedu, a researcher at the University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ghana. He’s done research at a number of institutions in Ghana and most recently got his PhD in cell and molecular biology at the University of Edinburgh where he worked on developing novel systems for bioconversion of cellulosic biomass to useful products under Professor Christopher E. French.


Dr. Duedu was recently awarded plasmids from Addgene as a successful applicant to the Addgene, Seeding Labs Plasmid Grant. For this grant, we’re working with fellow nonprofit, Seeding Labs, to distribute plasmids to researchers in developing regions and thereby accelerate their research. Kwabena came across the plasmid grant in Seeding Lab’s Newsletter and recently visited Cambridge to spend some time learning and doing research at Novartis.

Listen to learn how Kwabena plans to use his research experiences as well as plasmids from Addgene to bring new opportunities to Ghanaian scientists

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Topics: Interview, Synthetic Biology, Podcast

Adapting Toehold Switches to Detect Zika Virus

Posted by Guest Blogger on Aug 30, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest bloggers Keith Pardee and Alexander A. Green.

Zika Background

First identified in 1947 in Uganda, the Zika virus had received little attention and, for the most part, had been associated with low morbidity and mild symptoms. This changed in January with the report of an outbreak of the virus in Brazil that was correlated with greater rates of infection and rare, but severe, symptoms, including the development of fetal microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. In response, the World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency and called for the fast-tracked development of diagnostics. Mostly transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes (aegypti and albopictus) and, aided by international travel, the Zika virus is expected to expand into heavily populated regions of South, Central, and North America. Diagnostics will play an important role in helping to monitor and slow this spread until vaccine programs can be put in place to provide community protection.

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Topics: Synthetic Biology

Recombinase-based State Machines Enable Order-dependent Logic in vivo

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jul 28, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Nathaniel Roquet, a PhD student in the Harvard Biophysics program and researcher in the Lu Lab at MIT.

Note: The following blog post reduces the content of our paper, “Synthetic recombinase-based state machines in living cells” (1), into a more straight-forward, concise explanation of how to adapt our engineered devices, recombinase-based state machines for your own experimental needs. For more context, exposition, and detail, please refer to the paper.

Why Might One Be Interested in State Machine Technology?

Biological research has produced a massive amount of information regarding which regulatory proteins, signaling molecules, mutations, and environmental conditions drive certain cellular behaviors, but little is known about the order or timing of these factors. Recombinase-based state machines (RSMs), which take on a particular DNA-sequence configuration (state) based on the identity and order of a particular set of inputs, may be used to better understand and engineer cellular processes that are influenced by temporally ordered biochemical events.

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Topics: Genome Engineering, Synthetic Biology

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