FIP Seminar: Optogenetic Control of Genome Engineering Tools for Spatiotemporal Regulation of Gene Expression

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Gross Hall, Ahmadieh Family Auditorium, Room 107

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Dr. Charles Gersbach, Rooney Family Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University

The advent of genome engineering technologies, including the RNA-guided CRISPR/Cas9 system, has enabled the precise editing and regulation of endogenous human genes and epigenetic states. We have applied these tools to the correction of mutations that cause genetic disease and also adapted them to manipulate the epigenome and control cell fate decisions. For example, we have engineered CRISPR/Cas9-based tools to regulate the expression of endogenous genes and applied these tools to control diverse genes relevant to disease, development, and differentiation. Genome-wide analysis of the DNA-binding, gene regulation, and chromatin remodeling by these targeted epigenome modifiers has demonstrated their exceptional specificity. We have recently applied these technologies to control the decisions of stem cells to become specific cell fates and reprogram cell types into other lineages that could be used for drug screening and disease modeling.  Incorporating methods to dynamically control the activity of these proteins, such as optogenetic control of the proteins with light, has allowed us to pattern gene expression both temporally and spatially. Ongoing efforts include designing strategies to manipulate specific epigenetic marks that would enable deciphering the influence of epigenetics on gene regulation and disease states. Collectively, these studies demonstrate the potential of modern genome engineering technologies to capitalize on the products of the Genomic Revolution and transform medicine, science, and biotechnology.

Dr. Charles A. Gersbach is the Rooney Family Associate Professor at Duke University in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedic Surgery, an Investigator in the Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology, and Director of the Duke Center for Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering.  His research interests are in genome and epigenome editing, gene therapy, regenerative medicine, biomolecular and cellular engineering, synthetic biology, and genomics.  Dr. Gersbach's work has been recognized through awards including the NIH Director's New Innovator Award, the NSF CAREER Award, the Outstanding New Investigator Award from the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, the Allen Distinguished Investigator award, and induction as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.


Burns, August