Diagnostic Tools & Biodiscovery

Biological systems uniquely exhibit remarkable molecular recognition capabilities that exceed what can be achieved currently by rational design.

The O’Malley group studies non-model microbes for biochemical production. Their approach includes isolation and deep metagenomic sequencing in order to identify novel enzymatic molecules and pathways in these organisms, and then reprogram them toward efficient biochemical conversion for applications including biofuels, commodity chemicals and therapeutics.

The Mukherjee group engineers biology – from molecules to whole cells – to develop technologies for studying cell function in challenging albeit physiologically & industrially relevant environments. Their approach includes a blend of molecular biology, protein, and cellular engineering to turn natural biomolecules into genetically targeted technologies that let them spy on the inner workings of a cell with molecular precision. A core focus of their research is to engineer robust genetic reporters and sensors for fluorescence imaging of cells that have a natural ability to flourish in low oxygen conditions, which prevail in solid tumors, soft tissue infections, and in the mammalian gut. A second major area of research is the development of genetic reporters for magnetic resonance imaging of cell function in deep tissues in the context of experimental animal models of disease, injury, and therapy.

The Dey group develops new technologies to understand the design principles governing tissue development and homeostasis. As cells are the fundamental building blocks of tissues, it is important to make measurements in individual cells instead of most current methods that start from bulk cellular populations. Thus, they develop novel next-generation sequencing techniques to make genome-wide measurements in single cells.