two main research lines are being developed: the design of new pathways in E. coli and C. pasteurianum, with new and/or improved functions towards the triggered production of curcumin and butanol, and the engineering of new carriers (viral particles) and molecules (aptamers and peptides) for targeting and treatment of cancer. Ongoing research includes: engineering a novel biosynthetic pathway for the production of curcuminoids in E. coli; development of tools for the genetic manipulation of C. pasteurianum; selection and isolation of new molecules with high affinity to cancer cells; development of a phage-based nanocarrier for cancer treatment and diagnosis.
Other Group Research Labs
The BioPSEg carries out research in Synthetic Biology
Main Topics of the Research Team
Synthetic biology approaches for engineering new pathways, functions and organisms
Strategies for engineering new pathways in model organisms using Synthetic Biology approaches are being pursued. The main purpose is to obtain organisms with new and/or improved functions towards the production of added value products (e.g. curcumin, butanol and amino acids). These approaches involve the use of modular genetic parts to design and engineer regulatory circuits to control gene expression in response to intracellular metabolic states for the improved production of a given compound in model organisms. Also, several modeling and engineering steps are being used to program organisms to execute new synthetic pathways for the production of interest compounds triggered by external stimulus (e.g. temperature).
Synthetic biology sensors
New synthetic riboswitches are being engineered by using SELEX (Systemic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential enrichment method) to pick aptamers that enable the identification of target molecules (e.g. osteopontin, theophylline). The synthetic metabolite-binding riboswitches composed of two domains (aptamer and antisense) bind to specific target molecules and can regulate gene transcription and translation. Foreseen applications of synthetic riboswitches include regulation of gene expression and new biosensors.