BMSE Seminar: “Designable architectures for engineering and analyzing metabolism on a large scale”


Prof. James Carothers, U. Washington, Host: Irene Chen

Date and Location

Wednesday October 17, 2018 11:00am to 12:00pm
1601 Elings Hall


Abstract:  Engineered metabolisms have the potential to produce a vast array of of industrially- and medically-important chemicals and materials.  Typically, the development and optimization of bioproduction platforms requires lengthy and  extensive study and manipulation, oftentimes because the underlying gene and regulatory networks are large and complex. In principle, synthetic multi-gene programs can be constructed to integrate new metabolic functions into these networks.  In practice, the genetic design spaces are very large and there is a great need for new molecular architectures that can be used to rapidly engineer and analyze metabolic systems on a large scale. In this presentation, I will describe on-going efforts to 1) engineer dynamic, multi-gene CRISPR-Cas transcriptional networks and 2) develop kinetically-controlled RNA aptamer-based devices as highly-programmable biosensors and genetic controllers. 

About Prof. James Carothers:  The Carothers Research Group at the University of Washington integrates quantitative RNA device design, dynamic control system modeling, and CRISPR-Cas network engineering for applications in synthetic biology.  James is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, and Member of the Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute and Center for Synthetic Biology at the University of Washington.  Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow with Jay D. Keasling at the University of California Berkeley. He earned a Ph.D. at Harvard University with Jack W. Szostak, and has a B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale. His research in RNA synthetic biology has been recognized by the UW Presidential Innovation Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, and supported by the NSF, DOE and private industry. He has taught well-received synthetic biology courses to students in departments across the College of Engineering, mentored >20 undergraduate and post-baccalaureate researchers, and hosted mini-research experiences for >45 students in UW outreach programs.  James was named an Emerging Scholar by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education and received the UW College of Engineering Junior Faculty Award.  Website: e-mail: