Synthetic Biology

The Saccharomyces cerevisiae 2.0 Project

Joel Bader

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, USA


Research interests

Joel S. Bader, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and is a member of the High Throughput Biology Center at the School of Medicine, with secondary appointments in Computer Science and Human Genetics. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. Bader was employed by CuraGen Corporation (1995-2003) and is co-inventor of the Roche/454 Genome Sequencer. Dr. Bader has a Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemistry from U.C. Berkeley (1991), where he was an NSF Predoctoral Fellow, and performed post-doctoral research at Columbia University (1992-1995). Dr. Bader has a B.S. in Biochemistry from Lehigh University (1986, Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi).

Research in the Bader lab focuses on systems and synthetic biology: mapping and analyzing biological pathways; connecting genes and pathways to disease; and designing and building genomes. Work in the Bader lab is funded by NIH, NSF CAREER, DOE, Microsoft, and the Kleberg Foundation.

Website: Bader Lab


Speaker abstract

Richard Feynman's blackboard read, ‘What I cannot create, I do not understand.’ Synthetic biology has the goal of understanding biology by creating it. We specifically aim to create a living yeast cell whose DNA traces back to an oligo synthesizer, and before that to a computer program, rather than a parent cell. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae 2.0 (Sc2.0) project is an international collaboration to achieve this aim.  We have developed computer-aided design / computer-aided manufacture (CAD/CAM) software to design new versions of genes and genomes, to convert the electronic designs to physical DNA, and to replace native DNA with our synthetic version.  The synthetic DNA has been designed to eliminate transposons and other elements of questionable fitness benefit; we have also introduced recombination sites to permit rapid genome scrambling and evolution. This international collaborative effort includes the Boeke and Chandrasegaran labs (also at Johns Hopkins), the Dai lab (Tinsghua University, China), and BGI (Shenzhen, China).

Dymond JS, Richardson SM, Coombes CE, Babatz T, Muller H, Annaluru N, Blake WJ, Schwerzmann JW, Dai J, Lindstrom DL et al. 2011. Synthetic chromosome arms function in yeast and generate phenotypic diversity by design. Nature 477: 471–476

Question or comment about this talk? Tweet us at @NewPhyt using the hashtag #4NPW.