September 2017

Event Date: 
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 18:00 - 18:15
Institution: 
Macquarie University
Title: 

Australians Building Chromosomes: the ABC of finishing a synthetic yeast genome construction

Abstract: 

Synthetic biology is a nascent field at the nexus of engineering, biology and chemistry. One of the most important synthetic biology projects currently underway is the synthesis of the world’s first eukaryotic organism. Comprising over 12 million base pairs of DNA on 16 chromosomes, the yeast genome is one of the most well studied genomes, and is an ideal template for understanding genome design principles. One ground breaking example of this is the SCRaMbLE system which acts as an expedited evolution system, making yeast 2.0 a unique metabolic engineering chassis. Other aspects of the massive undertaking of rebuilding the genome manually, include refactoring of stop codons, removal of tRNAs, delta sequences, transposons, and introns. This has resulted in a reduced synthetic genome with completely novel capabilities. A main goal of the consortium is to maintain wildtype-like growth in the synthetic strain. As the construction project draws towards completion, individual groups are starting to focus more on identification of and repair of ‘growth defects’ and construction errors in the synthetic chromosomes before the final task of joining all chromosomes together in a complete synthetic genome. Macquarie University’s Yeast 2.0 node is in the process of breeding synthetic yeast strains together and repairing errors in the synthetic strain. Various duplications in chromosomes 14 and 16 have been repaired with CRISPR/Cas9, segments of wildtype DNA have been replaced after next generation sequencing, and growth defects are in the process of being repaired and characterized.
 

Event Date: 
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 19:00 - 19:45
Institution: 
Macquarie University
Title: 

Life Changing Experiences: Understanding How Microbes Respond and Adapt Using High Throughput -omics Approaches.

Abstract: 

Microbes respond, evolve and adapt to changes in the environment. In this talk I will present results of two studies.
 
One study investigated a long-term adaptation strategy adopted by a Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PASS4 isolated from the sputum of an adult cystic fibrosis (CF) patient. PASS4 displayed an unusual phenotype, only showing strong respiration on adenosine and inosine in Biolog Phenotype Microarray screening. Further testing indicated that PASS4 could grow on DNA as a sole carbon source with a higher biomass production compared to the model strain of P. aeruginosa PAO1. This suggested that PASS4 has adapted to metabolise eDNA, a substrate present at high concentrations in the CF lung. Further studies of PASS4 strain revealed the possible mechanism behind this specialisation.
 
The second study looked at how, and how quick, bacteria can adapt by using a common drug-resistant hospital pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii grown in an in vitro biofilm system, with and without the addition of antibiotics. RNA-Seq transcriptomics was used to look at what happens in biofilm cells and showed significant difference in gene expression profiles between planktonic and biofilm cells, while the addition of antibiotics further resulted in specific changes in gene expression. Cells were isolated from biofilm effluents and their genomic DNA sequenced in order to identify genomic changes that might have occurred as a result of growth in biofilms, in the presence / absence of antibiotics.

Event Date: 
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 18:15 - 18:30
Institution: 
iGEM-HQ
Title: 

The iGEM movement

Abstract: 

iGEM has been creating the workforce for the Synthetic Biology industry for the last 12 years. With over 5000 international participants, the iGEM competition is the biggest synthetic biology event in the world. iGEM encourages students to work together to solve real-world challenges by building genetically engineered biological systems with standard, interchangeable parts. Student teams design, build and test their projects over the summer and gather to present their work and compete at the annual Jamboree. It is the premiere training ground for students, bringing together the best and brightest young minds in the world at one huge event.