[Seminar] "Connecting biology and electronics with artificial protein switches" by Prof. Kirill Alexandrov
Speaker: Prof. Kirill Alexandrov, Queensland University of Technology
Title: Connecting biology and electronics with artificial protein switches
The central tenet of the emerging field of Synthetic Biology is that biological components can be refined into a toolkit of plug-and-play building blocks. The experimental evidence supporting this idea has so far been limited to relatively slow synthetic gene expression circuits. Real-time events in biological process are mediated by protein-based signaling circuits that can operate up to the millisecond scale. Ability to design protein-based signaling circuits would in principle enable us to design of analytical and diagnostic tests for any analyte.
To create orthogonal toolbox of protein-based signal detectors and amplifiers we combined structure-based engineering and directed evolution of proteins and created a range of synthetic signaling systems. I will discuss the way this signaling systems can be connected to electronic devices and how these developments were used to create a start up company.
Professor Kirill Alexandrov obtained his Masters degree in Invertebrate Zoology at the Leningrad State University, Russia in 1989 and completed his Ph.D in Cell Biology at EMBL Heidelberg, Germany in 1995. He went on to postgraduate work at the Department of Physical Biochemistry at the Max-Planck Institute in Dortmund, Germany, and remained with the Institute for 12 years, becoming a group leader in 1999. He co-founded the German biotechnology company JenaBioscience in 1998 and the UK/Australian SynBio company Molecular Warehouse ltd in 2015. He joined the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Biotechnology of the University of Queensland, Australia in 2008 as an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. In 2018 he joined Queensland University of Technology as CSIRO-QUT Inaugural Professor of Synthetic Biology. His group is interested in artificial sensing and signal transduction and two-way connectivity between biology and electronics.