Introduce new synthetic systems to cells, in order to create cells with non-natural functions
At the lowest bio-design scale, the introduction of synthetic gene circuits to mammalian and bacterial cells enables the development of synthetic cellular sensing and response systems which in turn facilitates the engineering of design-based features in cell communities, complex 3D tissues and cell-based therapies. Understanding the internal workings of cells requires us to monitor and manipulate cellular pathways. Our research combines cell biology, synthetic protein engineering and imaging to introduce biosensors and reporters to monitor cellular pathways, inducible actuators to selectively activate or inactivate molecules, and synthetic molecules to add novel cellular functions. We use these tools to study how cells develop and self-organize, with a focus on organelle biology, intracellular transport and the cytoskeleton.