"Gut Feelings: Engineering Synthetic Bacterial Circuits to Probe the Mammalian Gut"
Thursday, November 08, 2018 at 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Building 48, Room 316
15 VASSAR ST, Cambridge, MA 02139
David Riglar, Harvard Medical School
Pizza @ 12:45PM ... Seminar @ 1PM
In the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory - MIT Building 48 - Room 316
"Our ability to non-invasively interrogate the mammalian gut and its resident microbiota remains extremely limited. This has hindered our functional understanding of the gut, ultimately limiting the rational design of diagnostic and therapeutic clinical interventions for a range of gut diseases. Utilization of engineered bacteria to probe the gut has therefore been a long-held goal of synthetic biologists. I will discuss efforts to develop and use synthetic circuits within bacteria to record transient inflammatory signals and to better understand bacterial growth kinetics in situ within the mammalian gut. These results demonstrate the potential for engineered bacteria to stably and reliably probe functional aspects of the microbiota for which traditional sensors and diagnostics may not be feasible or cost-effective over extended periods. Given that the function and growth of the gut microbiota has been increasingly implicated in disorders as wide ranging as inflammatory disease, cancer, infectious disease and even mental health, these tools have the potential to ultimately benefit a large percentage of the human population. "