Events

CBE Seminar: Leonardo Morsut, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine - Keck School of Medicine Department of Biomedical Engineering - Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 in ESB #2001 @ 4pm

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

ESB 2001

4:00pm-5:00pm

*Light refreshments will be provided*

 

Leonardo Morsut, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine - Keck School of Medicine
Department of Biomedical Engineering - Viterbi School of Engineering

 

University of Southern California
Host: Dr. Otger Campas

Synthetic Biology Approaches for Multicellular Systems:
from Engineered Cell Therapy to Synthetic Tissue Development 

 

ABSTRACT: During embryonic development, complex multicellular tissues form based on genetically encoded algorithms that specify how cells will behave both individually and collectively. We develop synthetic biology tools and approaches to implement in cells such self-organization programs. These technologies allow us to span a large array of applications: from engineering sense-and-response capabilities in therapeutic cells, to vascularization of organoids, to programming cells with complex morphogenesis instructions.

I will present a recent series of experiments where we characterized a family of orthogonal cell-cell communication pathways, the synNotch platform, which allows a cell to detect molecular signals from its neighbors and, in response, induce user-specified transcriptional programs. We have used the synNotch platform to engineer simple artificial genetic programs in which specific cell-cell contacts induce changes in cell adhesion. Despite their simplicity, these programs can drive the spontaneous generation of multicellular structures in 3D with key hallmarks of natural developmental systems: they can self-organize into multilayer structures, form through sequential steps, display divergence of genotypically identical cells into distinct cell types, break symmetry, and can regenerate upon injury.

 

These results demonstrate the potential to use engineered modular circuits to construct customized self-organizing tissues, organs or materials. I will speculate on the next steps of these lines of research towards increasing basic understanding as well as for applications in regenerative medicine.