“Engineering Cellular Degradation: from Targeted Control of Protein Depletion to Design of Synthetic

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017 | 12:30 - 1:30 PM Add to Calendar

The Center for Theoretical Biological Physics PRESENTS Seminar Speaker

Laura Segatori
Associate Professor
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Biochemistry & Cell Biology and BioSciences

“Engineering Cellular Degradation: from Targeted Control of Protein Depletion to Design of Synthetic Gene Circuits”

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
12:30 – 1:30 PM
BRC, 10th Floor, Room 1060 A/B

Abstract: The chemical and energetic properties specified by a protein’s amino acid sequence and encoded by our genome, while determining the protein folding energy landscape, are only part of what shapes how proteins evolve their function. A sophisticated network of macromolecular assistants is needed to control protein synthesis and folding, and mediate degradation of aberrant proteins – functions achieved through completely different and independent mechanisms balanced extrinsically by chemical feedback agents. We seek to develop novel biotechnologies to manipulate these mechanisms for applications ranging from systems-level investigations of protein function to development of therapeutic approaches for restoring cellular homeostasis. We employ synthetic biology tools to develop genetic circuits that interface with the ubiquitin-proteasome system to monitor and manipulate protein degradation. We recently developed a technology for degrading a target protein with high specificity and selectivity that provides dynamic control over protein accumulation and that can be customized to target any cellular protein and post-translational modifications. We have deployed this technology to improve the design of synthetic gene circuits through stimulus-dependent, targeted depletion of the circuit reporter and, ultimately, develop a universal platform for monitoring changes in gene expression with high sensitivity and dynamic resolution. I will discuss the use these tunable cell-based platforms not only to monitor and engineer cellular protein degradation but also to generate novel tool for the mammalian synthetic biology community.

Bio: Laura Segatori is an Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University. She received a Laurea in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Bologna in Italy in 2000 and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005. She completed her postdoctoral work at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla California and joined the faculty at Rice University in 2007 where she holds joint appointments in the departments of Bioengineering and Biosciences. She is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award. Her research group is highly interdisciplinary and combines principles and tools from engineering and science to decipher and manipulate cellular quality control mechanisms that underlie the development of human diseases. Current research interests include the design of synthetic biology tools and nanotechnology-based approaches to engineer protein degradation pathways in the complex environment of mammalian cells.

An Official Seminar of the Ph.D. Program in Systems, Synthetic and Physical Biology at Rice University

For more information, visit:!view/event/event_id/1032


BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC), 10th Floor, Room 1060 A/B

6500 Main St.
Houston, TX 77030


Lisa Bennett