Scientific Advisory Board

silverPamela A. Silver, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
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We seek to both enhance our understanding of natural biological design, and to develop tools and concepts for designing cells, tissues and organisms. In the long term, we hope to develop principles for building synthetic cells that act as sensors, memory devices, bio-computers, producers of high value commodities and energy from the sun, and to build novel subsystems such as proteins with designed properties for therapeutic use. Current projects use mammalian cells, simple eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Understanding how to program cells in a rational way will have value, for example, in stem cell design, drug therapy and the environment. These experiments use a combination of theoretical and experimental approaches that are well suited to students with backgrounds in biology, engineering, or any allied field.

arkinAdam P. Arkin, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
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The Arkin laboratory seeks to uncover the evolutionary design principles of cellular networks and populations and to exploit them for applications. To do so they are developing a framework to effectively combine comparative functional genomics, quantitative measurement of cellular dynamics, biophysical modeling of cellular networks, and cellular circuit design to ultimately facilitate applications in health, the environment, and bioenergy.

hastyJeff Hasty, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
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Jeff Hasty received his Ph.D. in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1997, where he worked with Kurt Wiesenfeld. He was a postdoc with Jorge Vinals at the Supercomputing Research Institute (’97-’98), and a postdoctoral fellow with Jim Collins in the Applied BioDynamics Lab at Boston University (’98-’01). Somewhere during his postdoctoral stay at Boston University, he mutated into a hybrid computational/molecular biologist. He is currently at the University of California, San Diego, where he is a Professor in the Departments of Molecular Biology and Bioengineering, and the Director of the BioCircuits Institute. His main interest is the design and construction of synthetic gene-regulatory and signaling networks.

bettenbaughMichael J. Betenbaugh, Ph.D.,  Johns Hopkins University
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Our lab focuses on Glyco Engineering, Cell Engineering, Beten-omics, and Micro-algae Engineering.

lahavGalit Lahav, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
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Our lab studies how individual cells translate internal and external signals into decisions such as growth, death, movement or differentiation. We quantitatively measure the changes in level, activity, or localization of proteins in single cells at high temporal resolution and correlate these behaviors with specific cellular fates. By visualizing how dynamical behaviors vary between different cells, we aim to tease out the reasons for varying behavior both in cell populations and in different cell types. Understanding these issues will be enormously important for understanding how drugs act on different cell types and organs, and to begin to gain insight into the reasons why different cells and people respond differently to specific drugs.

glassJon Glass, Ph.D., J. Craig Venter Institute
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Dr. John Glass is a Professor and leader of the JCVI Synthetic Biology and Bioenergy Group. His expertise is in molecular biology, microbial pathogenesis, RNA virology, and microbial genomics. Glass is part of the Venter Institute team that created a synthetic bacterial cell. In reaching this milestone the Venter Institute scientists developed the fundamental techniques of the new field of synthetic genomics including genome transplantation and genome assembly. Glass was also leader of the JCVI project that rapidly made synthetic influenza virus vaccine strains in collaboration with Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc. and Synthetic Genomics, Inc. At the JCVI he has also led the bacterial outer membrane vesicle based vaccine, genome transplantation, and Mycoplasma genitalium minimal genome projects, and projects studying other mycoplasma and ureaplasma species. Glass and his Venter Institute colleagues are now using synthetic biology and synthetic genomics approaches developed at the JCVI to create cells and organelles with redesigned genomes to make microbes that can produce biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and industrially valuable molecules. Glass is an adjunct faculty member of the University of Maryland at College Park Cellular and Molecular Biology Program, and member of the Global Viral Network Scientific Leadership Board.
Prior to joining the JCVI, Glass spent five years in the Infectious Diseases Research Division of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. There he directed a hepatitis C virology group and a microbial genomics group (1998-2003).

goldbergMarcia Goldberg, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital
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Our lab focuses on two related scientific ideas: (1) the molecular nature of interactions between microbial pathogens and the host, with an emphasis on the intracellular human pathogen Shigella, and (2) the molecular nature of bacterial cellular organization, and its impact on interactions with host cells.