Dario Robleto returns to Northwestern as the new Artist-at-Large, working with faculty all over campus to discuss the implications of their research on society and ethics. Several professors in the Center for Synthetic Biology, including Josh Leonard, Danielle Tullman-Ercek, and Julius Lucks, are featured in a video about the collaboration.
To learn more about this exciting, and thought provoking collaboration, check out the video here!
The Illinois Science and Technology Coalition named Josh a 2019 Researcher to Know. Read more here.
We’re thrilled to share a new toolkit for mammalian synthetic biology: the COMET library of synthetic transcription factors, promoters, and accompanying models. Congratulations to Patrick, Joseph, Joe and Hailey and our key collaborator Neda Bagheri! This is true tour-de-force many years in the making, and we’re excited to share this with the community! Check out our preprint here, and follow some twitter discussion here.
Josh Leonard’s commentary was featured in a news article in Chemical & Engineering News in July featuring synthetic biologist Martin Fusseneger’s menthol-triggered insulin-producing cells. Josh commented saying the work is “an important first step”, as it was the first time a gene circuit was made entirely from human parts.
Find the full news article here.
Suchitra, Daniel, Austin, Joseph, and Amy all graduated this year with a masters!
Brandon, Vis, and Parth graduate from undergraduate programs, and Vis and Parth continue on to medical school!
Good luck to all in the next phase of their lives! We will miss you!
The Block Museum of Art hosted “Exploring Ethics: Across Art, Humanities, and Science”, a public event that provided researchers in various fields and artists a platform to share their experiences in encountering, raising, and answering new ethical questions as well as engage with the public on these topics. The event featured Northwestern synthetic biologists Danielle Tullman-Ercek, Julius Lucks, and Josh Leonard, as well as Artist-at-Large Dario Robleto and professor of medical education and anthropology Megan Crowley Matoka. Discussions ranged from capturing the ethics of science as art to engage two separate fields and the public, how to best get research to the point of need, and the cultural and ethical impact of organ transplant donation.
See the press release about the event here.
Copyright @SeanSuPhoto |@PurplePhotoCo.
The conference took place from May 17th-19th on Northwestern University’s campus and brought in researchers from around the world with over 150 in attendance. The first ever pre-conference workshop tutorial series took place on Friday, May 17th, providing an open forum for those new to and experienced in mammalian synthetic biology to ask questions to experts about topics such as sensing, cell signaling and differentiation, gene expression, and protein engineering, with professors Julius Lucks, Leonardo Morsut, Tara Deans, and Danielle Tullman-Ercek leading the discussions. Saturday and Sunday featured talks from experts in mammalian synthetic biology such as Linda Griffith, Melody Swartz, Ron Weiss, Martin Fussenegger, and many more. Leonard Lab member Devin Stranford gave a talk on her extracellular vesicle research and its applications to treating HIV. Additionally, Leonard Lab members Joe Muldoon, Taylor Dolberg, Patrick Donahue, Alex Prybutok, Kate Dray, Joseph Draut, Brandon Lim, Vis Kandula, Parth Shah, and Anthony Kang presented posters at the poster session on Saturday evening. Sunday’s talks concluded with a panel discussing the broader ethical implications and impacts of synthetic biology research, featuring Artist-at-Large Dario Robleto, bioethicist Laurie Zoloth, and historians Ben Hurlbut and Gaymon Bennett. Josh was presented with a commemorative plaque for helping organize and host the conference, which will take place by the Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
See the full press release about the conference here.
We’re thrilled to share our work on macrophage quorum licensing. Congratulations to Joe, Yishan, and our key collaborator Neda Bagheri! This exciting work involved both experimental and computational efforts and a lot of hard work! Check out our preprint here!
Congratulations to Vis Kandula, who received the “Outstanding Presenter” award at this year’s Stanford Undergraduate Research Conference, which took place from April 5-7. Of the 400 participants that applied from around North America, 80 individuals were accepted to present their research projects ranging from topics about experimental life sciences to quantitative social sciences. Vis was selected as an Outstanding Presenter in the experimental life sciences category.
Congratulations to Vis Kandula, who was awarded an travel grant to present his work at the Stanford Undergraduate Research Conference (SRC 2019).
Congratulations to Liz Schauer, who was awarded an academic year undergraduate research grant!
Vis was awarded the CLP CAURS (Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium) Award. This award grants Vis special funds to pursue his research and enables him to present at an associated symposium in April 2019.
Amy Hong was just awarded the Fletcher URG Prize—an award for the most outstanding Summer URG projects, Through a highly competitive and rigorous process, Amy was selected as the top student in the natural science and engineering division this year. Congratulations, Amy!
Northwestern and the Center for Synthetic Biology will host the inaugural Central US Synthetic Biology Workshop on Sep 6-7, 2018. The goal of this event is to create a recurring workshop that brings together synthetic biology researchers and companies from institutions in the Central US. Visit the workshop site and read more here: www.centralsynbio.org
Our new collaborative project, which is joint with Neda Bagheri, will develop new experimental and computational tools for designing and building robust cell-based therapies. This project was funded in the first round of the NIH’s new synthetic-biology-specific funding mechanisms. Read more here, and a related article released by the Chicago Biomedical Consortium here.
Check out Josh’s talk, which was given at TEDxYouth@ASFM themed V³: Vision. Voice. Vigor. The event was hosted by the American School Foundation of Monterrey, Mexico.
Read more about the event here, and check out the talk on YouTube.
Taylor Dolberg and Devin Stranford, each received the Outstanding Poster Presentation Award, given for the top presentation in each of their respective divisions at the 2018 meeting of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy!
Congratulations to Lauren Battaglia, who was selected as a Chemistry of Life Processes Summer Scholar, as well as for a McCormick Summer Research Award!
Congratulations to Ashwin kulkarni, Amy Hong, and Joseph Draut, who were each awarded summer undergraduate research grants!
Congratulations to Hailey!
Taylor and Patrick co-authored a commentary on recent progress in engineering cell therapies for cancer, including perspectives on exciting recent innovations in this space. Read more here.
Abbvie senior scientist Mikkel Algire highlights technologies for engineering cell-based therapies for cancer. Read more here.
This collaboration with the Nguyen and Schatz labs decribes the development of highly stable and stimuli/pH-responsive ultra-small polymer-grafted nanobins (usPGNs) as candidate nano-scale drug delivery vehicles. Read more here.
This chapter was published as part of an issue of Methods in Molecular Biology dedicated to the study and therapeutic use of Extracellular RNA. Read more here.
This study, published in Protein Engineering, Design, and Selection, reports the BERDI method for engineering novel metabolite-responsive biosensors, for applications ranging from metabolic engineering to fundamental research. Read more here.
Joseph’s research is highlighted in an article featuring undergraduate summer research. Read more here.
This review discusses both recent advances and emerging general principles for using mammalian synthetic biology to build cell-based therapies that are safe and effective. Read more here.
This chapter summarizes key strategies and challenges associated with studying and harnessing EV-mediated transfer for therapeutic applications, while providing contemporary perspectives on how choices of systems design and analysis method may impact the efficacy of EV-based therapies and the interpretation of EV-based investigations. Read more here.
Josh was selected to join the Scientific Executive Committee of GP-Write, a multinational synthetic biology project dedicated to realizing whole genome synthesis in order to understand, engineer and test living systems.
As part of former Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative, we received an award from NSF to work with fellow synthetic biologists at MIT to develop novel technologies for enabling cancer immunotherapy.
Josh was elected Vice Chair of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering’s Food, Pharmaceutical & Bioengineering Division, and will ascend to Chair this division next year.
This paper marks the first demonstration that MESA receptors can be multiplexed to function orthogonally in a single cell. We also report here, for the first time, a quantitative model for evaluating and ultimately designing new MESA receptors and new MESA-based technologies. Read more here.
Congrats to Devin! Read more here.
Cam McDonald will work with Joe Muldoon and Patrick Donahue on a synthetic biology project this summer, supported by the Northwestern Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP). Congratulations, Cam!
Joseph Draut will work with Patrick Donahue on a synthetic biology project this summer, supported by the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. Congratulations, Joseph!
Amy Hong will work with Joe Muldoon on a computational synthetic biology project this summer, supported by the Northwestern Office of Undergraduate Research. Congratulations, Amy!
Held at the Norris University Center on March 24-25, the Engineering Biology Research Consortium brought together nearly 170 faculty, researchers, and students from universities across the country to discuss current challenges and opportunities in synthetic biology.
Read all about it here!
Congratulations to Taylor, who received an honorable mention / runner up amongst a very competitive field of poster presenters at this past weekend’s EBRC retreat, hosted right here at Northwestern by the Center for Synthetic Biology!
Synthetic biology: Sensing with modular receptors
Matthew Brenner, Jang Hwan Cho and Wilson W Wong
Sensing and responding to diverse extracellular signals is a crucial aspect of cellular decision-making that is currently lacking in the synthetic biology toolkit. The development of modular receptor platforms allows for the rewiring of cellular input-output relationships.
(click image to see animation!)
Image by Joshua Leonard and Kelly Schwarz, Northwestern University. Cell image by NIAID/NIH, used and modified under Creative Commons 2.0 license.
Congrats to Kelly, Nickey, and Taylor, whose paper was published today in Nature Chemical Biology! This paper is currently spotlighted on the homepage of NCB: http://www.nature.com/nchembio/index.html
Our research was featured in an interview with Josh in Cancer Cytopathology, for a special feature on synthetic biology technologies for treating cancer (Nov 2016) [link]
Andy and Andrew’s paper was accepted for publication in ACS Synthetic Biology (a collaboration with our partners at the University of Warwick)
Joseph Muldoon received the 2015-2016 IBiS Teaching Assistant Excellence Award
Kelly Schwarz was selected as runner-up for this years Distinguished Graduate Researcher Award from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Michelle’s collaborative paper with Carol Hall at NC State was published in the Journal of Computational Chemistry.
Josh is now the Co-Director of Northwestern’s NIH-funded Predoctoral Biotechnology Training Program
Josh was selected to give the annual graduate student invitational seminar to the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia.
Yishan, Michelle, and Brianne’s paper was on macrophage decision making in response to IL-10 was accepted for publication in Innate Immunity.
As part of President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative, Josh will be an invited conferee at a meeting focused on “Systems and Synthetic Biology for Designing Rational Cancer Immunotherapies” in October.
Congratulations to Andrew on being appointed to the Biotechnology Training Program!
Josh is interviewed and Michelle’s research is featured in a Science Magazine technology feature on extracellular vesicles. Read more here:
Congratulations to Neil who was awarded the second place Mickelson Prize at this year’s McCormick Graduation Convocation!
Congratulations to Andrew and Jeci who were married last weekend!
Congratulations to Patrick who was just awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) fellowship from NIH!
Congratulations to Praneet who was just awarded a Weinberg College Summer Research Grant!
Congratulations to Michelle who recently published her 2nd first author publication in the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles! Read it here
Andrea and Imran were selected to receive a Summer Undergraduate Research Grant (URG)! Congratulations!
Congratulations to Kelly Schwarz who won this years Leonard Lab Bracket Challenge!
Welcome to our new undergraduate researchers Andrea Shepard, Imran Khan, and Praneet Polineni!
Congratulations to Devin who won a NSF fellowship!
Undergraduate researcher Neil Dalvie has accepted MIT’s offer for graduate studies for the anticipated degree of Ph.D.
Congratulations and good luck!
Press coverage of Josh’s Data as Art course — a collaboration between Northwestern’s and SAIC — featuring Josh’s teams who explored the field of Synthetic Biology through this lens
Keynote address by Professor Mike Jewett from Northwestern University and Professor James Collins from MIT.
Michelle Hung won a meritorious travel grant from the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT)!
Welcome to our new undergraduate researcher Pear Dhiantravan!
Welcome to our new undergraduate researcher Shreya Udani!
Welcome to our two new Chemical Engineering PhD students Devin Stranford and Peter Su!
Congratulations to Josh who got officially promoted to Associate Professor with tenure!
Andy Scarpelli successfully defended his thesis!
Austin Rottinghuas joins our lab for a summer research project from Northwestern’s Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP)
Rachel Dudek successfully defended her thesis!
Wells et al. paper highlighted in Northwestern McCormick Engineering News! Read More
Hung et al. was one of the most viewed JBC articles published in March and April! Check out the article! Pubmed
Congratulations to Michelle Hung for being selected for the Best Mentor Award from Niles West High School
Congratulations to Neil Dalvie for being awarded the Chemistry of Life Processes Summer Scholar Award!
Congratulations to Taylor Dolberg for winning the NDSEG graduate research fellowship!
Congratulations to Taylor Dolberg for winning the NSF graduate research fellowship!
Congratulations to Joe Muldoon for wining the NSF Honorable Mention!
Congratulations to Ragan Pitner and Andy Scarpelli for their recent paper in ACS Synthetic Biology! Get it here ACS
Congratulations to Michelle Hung for her recent paper in JBC! Pubmed
Congratulations to Danny Wells and Yishan Chuang for their recent paper in PLOS Computational Biology. Read it here Pubmed
Congratulations to Nichole Daringer and Kelly Schwarz for their recent paper in JBC! Get it here JBC
Congratulations to Naomi Lisse for winning an Undergraduate Research Grant!
Michelle Hung invited to speak at the IBiS mini-symposium!
Congratulations to Neil Dalvie for winning an Undergraduate Research Grant!
Welcome to our new Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student Taylor Dolberg to the lab!
Congratulations to Rachel Dudek, Yishan Chuang, and Josh Leonard for publishing in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology! Read it here Pubmed
The Leonard Lab features prominently, including the cover art (by Justin Muir), in the current ACS Synthetic Biology issue! ACS Synthetic Biology Special Issue: Viewpoint by Josh Leonard, Podcast interview with Josh Leonard, Daringer et al!
Dr. Leonard and Dr. Bagheri receive a Cornew Innovation Award from CLP
@Addgene Tweets about the Modular Extracellular Sensor Architecture plasmids now available from the Leonard Lab #SynBio
Congratulations to Kelly Schwarz for passing her qualifying exam!
Congratulations to Andrew Younger for being awarded a EPA STAR graduate fellowship!
Congratulations to Andrew Younger for being awarded the Neil Welker IBiS Teaching Assistant Excellence Award!
Congratulations to Kelly Schwarz for being awarded the ChBE Departmental Teaching Assistant award!
Welcome to our new MD/Ph.D. student Patrick Donahue to the Lab!
Congratulations to Joseph Muldoon on being appointed to the Biotechnology cluster!
Congratulations to Michelle Hung on her first first author research article! Read More
Daringer et al. paper highlighted in the Society for Biological Engineering Connections E-Newsletter Read More
Congratulations to Nichole Daringer for successfully defending her thesis!
Congratulations to Andrew Younger for passing his qualifying exam!
Research featured on Northwestern’s Office for Research Discovery website Read More
Congratulations to Yishan Chuang for successfully defending her thesis!
Welcome to our new IBiS Ph.D. student Joseph Muldoon to the lab!
Congratulations to Andrew Younger for being selected for the Best Mentor Award from Niles West High School
Congratulations to Michelle Hung for being awarded the Excellence in Research Award from the American Society of Cell and Gene Therapy
Congratulations to Danny Wells for being selected for a Marine Biology Lab summer course
Niles West High School students, mentored by Andrew Younger, get invited to the Illinois State Science fair and the Intel International Science and Engineering fair in Los Angeles. Good Luck!
NU Synthetic Biology highlighted on university home page Read More
Dr. Leonard and Northwestern University co-host UK-US workshop on Synthetic Biology