All Projects


The Weiss Lab pursues a variety of topics spanning from prokaryotes to mice in both foundation and applied projects.


Artificial tissue homeostasis

In order to be able to design synthetic organs that function autonomously, we will need to engineer artificial tissue homeostasis. To control the size of these artificial tissues, two major mechanisms will have to be engineered. The first one is …


Assembly and delivery of genetic circuits

Fundamental to mammalian synthetic biology is the ability to reliably construct and deliver synthetic gene circuit into the cell and to have the circuit function over time. Current methods include co-transfection of multiple plasmid and transfection of single plasmids with …


Flexible cellular platforms for reconfigurable biocircuits

Jonathan Babb, Adam Rubin, Thomas Knight, Ron Weiss Existing methods for cloning and recombination of DNA enable construction of arbitrary sequences.  However, the sequential nature of these techniques makes them time-consuming and expensive.  Furthermore, while the transformation of an existing …


In vivo biosensors

Whether it is a specific cancer cell, stem cell or neuron, each cell state is characterized by a set of biomarkers: mRNA, proteins and microRNA. We seek to engineer therapeutic and diagnostic genetic circuits that interface with cellular context and …


Mammalian synthetic transcriptional regulation

Recent advances in the engineering of DNA binding domains have opened up the possibility of greatly expanding orthogonal sets of transcriptional regulators. While bacterial promoters are relatively easy to manipulate, their mammalian counterparts can range from a few hundred base …


Micro-bio-robotic communication: Multicellular pattern formation and detection with visible and ultraviolet light

Our team proposes to develop a generalizable platform for the two-way interfacing of synthetic biological systems with non-living systems. Important environmental signals such as explosives (e.g., RDX and TNT), toxins, metals, salinity, pH, temperature and light, will be detected by synthetic biosensors that …


MicroRNA sensing and processing circuit in mammalian cells

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous 21-23 nt RNAs that pair to mRNAs to exert posttranscriptional repression mainly in metazoans and plants. MicroRNAs play important roles in nearly every aspect of biology, including development and progression of cancers and a variety of …


Rapid assembly and delivery of large scale genetic circuits into mammalian cells

This project aims to develop a framework to rapidly and reliably assemble and deliver large scale genetic circuits site-specifically into mammalian cells. The methods we’re developing allow choosing parts from a library of known (sequenced, characterized) mammalian parts and assembling …


Regulatory networks utilizing protein-protein interactions

In nature, cells respond to diverse stimuli over multiple length and time scales, but most synthetic gene circuits thus far have been limited to transcriptional regulation. We develop tools for Synthetic Biology to construct genetic circuits that encode synthetic protein …


Retroactivity

A central concept in synthetic biology is the construction of reusable, well-characterized modules. Modularity simplifies circuit design by allowing engineers to decouple systems into separate modules and construct and test modules individually. Instead of designing genetic circuits from scratch with …


Synthetic ecological system for pattern formation

This project aims at programming yeast cell life and death, and thereby study pattern formation, by integrating a synthetic genetic circuit into yeast cellular machinery. This engineering approach can be applied to cell density control in biotechnology industry, pattern formation …


Synthetic Morphogenetic Programs

How does a single cell’s genome encode instructions enabling it to sculpt an entire metazoan body plan? We extend the methods of Synthetic Biology to development to test the sufficiency of postulated key physical mechanisms of morphogenesis for the generation …