Comprehensive Optogenetic Model Published!
Evan's paper, A photoconversion model for full spectral programming and multiplexing of optogenetic systems, was just published in Molecular Systems Biology. In this paper, Evan built a predictive mathematical model of the spectral responses our E. coli green and red light sensors and used it to program their gene expression output dynamics independently in the same cell. Not only does this work dramatically improve our understanding of how these optogenetic tools function, but the method can be used to perform entirely new characterizations of multi-component gene circuits.
Kat Wins NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!
Tabor lab Senior Kat Sofjan was recently named a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow! The NSF GRFP is a highly prestigious fellowship program that recognizes outstanding scientific contributions and potential in students who will be entering a Ph.D. program the following year. Congratulations, Kat! We are super proud of you.
Rohan Wins Goldwater Fellowship!
Tabor lab Sophomore Rohan Palanki was recently awarded the highly prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Fellowship! The Goldwater is administered by the federal US government to recognize the top science, engineering, and mathematics students in the country each year. This year, Rohan was one of only 240 students selected across the country. This is a great recognition of Rohan's accomplishments and great potential for the future. Congratulations Rohan!!
Kristina's Paper Published
Kristina's paper "Engineering bacterial thiosulfate and tetrathionate sensors for detecting gut inflammation" was recently published in Molecular Systems Biology! Along with our former undergraduate Ravi Sheth (currently a Hertz Fellow in Harris Wang's lab at Columbia), Kristina discovered the first genetically-encoded sensor of thiosulfate. She used this sensor to program a gut adapted E. coli strain to sense thiosulfate. Then, with our collaborators the Britton and Shroyer groups at Baylor College of Medicine, she demonstrated that these bacteria sense and report colon inflammation in mice via increased green fluorescent protein expression. This is an exciting early example of the potential of engineered bacteria to study and diagnose gut disesaes, and could eventually be advanced as a therapeutic with high efficacy and low side effects. Congratulations Kristina! Check out the Rice press release.
Kathryn Brink Joins the Lab!
Kathryn Brink, a first year Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology PhD student has joined the Tabor Lab. We welcome her with open arms and look foward to the amazing research she'll produce!
An Open-Hardware Platform for Optogenetics and Photobiology Published!
Karl's paper on the design and use of an open source hardware and software platform for optogenetic and photobiology experiments was just published in Scientific Reports! Congratulations to Karl and everyone involved in the research. See Rice's write-up on here
Congratulations Dr. Ramakrishnan!
Prabha successfully defended her thesis "Development and characterization of a UV-violet/green photoreversible transcriptional regulator in E.coli" early this week! She was an outstanding researcher and great friend to everyone in the lab. Congratulations Dr. Ramakrishnan, we'll all miss you dearly!
John Sexton Meets John Kerry!
John Sexton had the amazing opportunity to meet Secretary of State John Kerry and kick the ball around with him on Rice's campus!
UV Light Sensor for E. coli Published!
Prabha's paper on engineering a new E. coli UV light sensor was just accepted at ACS Synthetic Biology! Congrats Prabha! Click here for Rice's press release on Prabha's paper.
FlowCal Is Published!
Sebastian and John's paper describing FlowCal, an open source flow cytometry data calibration and analysis tool was just accepted at ACS Synthetic Biology. We think this will be a very useful tool for the community. Congrats guys! For more information, click here for the Texas Medical Center's full writeup.
Jeff Wins NSF CAREER Award!
Jeff Tabor has won the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award for the lab's research in developing bacterial gut biosensors. This five-year, $500,000 award will further the group's work to engineer bacterial two component sensors of inflammation biomarkers in the gut. Inflammation is an important model of host-microbe interactions and is linked to a host of diseases and disorders such as Crohn’s and colorectal cancer. Our sensors should serve as important reagents for studying these processes and next-generation diagnostics. For more information, click here for Rice's full writeup.
Congratulations Dr. Olson!
Evan successfully defended his thesis "Optogenetic programming of complex, multiplexed gene expression signals" today! He was the first student to join the lab and is now the first to graduate! Congratulations Dr. Olson, you inspire all of us!
Synthetic Biology in Space
Tabor Lab graduate student, Lucas Hartsough, a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow, penned a great PLOS article on the motivation for developing synthetic biological systems as tools for space exploration. You can find the article here.