Computationally Optimized DNA Assembly Applications

Friday, October 24, 2008 - 11:00 p.m. to Saturday, October 25, 2008 - 12:00 a.m.
ChEMS Seminar

Featuring G. Wesley (Wes) Hatfield, Ph.D.
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
UC Irvine

Location: Information and Computer Science (ICS), Room 174
Free and open to the public

Synthetic genes are assembled from short, linearly overlapping, chemically synthesized oligonucleotides. This method is faced with two major problems: (1) incorrect assembly (oligos in wrong order); and, (2) point mutations and deletions in the oligos accumulate in the assembled structures. Unique Computationally Optimized DNA Assembly (CODA) methods, developed by researchers in the Computational Biology Research Laboratory of the UCI Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics in Cal(IT)2, which will eliminate these problems, will be described.  Another common problem is that genes from one organism often produce poorly expressed, and/or insoluble, and/or inactive proteins in another organism. Unique translational engineering methods to solve these problems also will be discussed. 

About the Speaker:
G. Wesley (Wes) Hatfield, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus of microbiology and molecular genetics in the College of Medicine and of chemical engineering and materials science in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine. He currently serves with Pierre Baldi, Ph.D., Chancellor's Professor of computer science in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science as Co-director of the UCI Institute for Genomics and Bioinformaticsn (IGB) and the campus-wide NIH Biomedical Informatics Training grant, and as the Director of the Computational Biology Research Laboratory in the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. His primary areas of scientific expertise include molecular biology, biochemistry, microbial physiology, functional genomics, and computational biology. His current academic interests include the application and development of genomic and computational methods to elucidate the effects of chromosome structure and DNA topology on gene expression, and compuationally optimized self-assembly of complex DNA structures.  Hatfield has over thirty years of experience in the development of biotechnology companies both as a founder and as a private consultant. He and Richard H. "Rick" Lathrop, Ph.D., professor of computer science, are the co-founders of CODA Genomics, Inc., a synthetic biology company in Laguna Hills, Calif., and are co-inventors of the CODA technology. He serves as a consultant to private and government science funding agencies, and for many years has been instrumental in forging collaborations between the University of California and the California biotechnology industry. For example, Hatfield was an initiator of the UC system-wide BioStar program (now the UC Discovery Grant program) that provides matching funds to stimulate collaborative University/Industry research projects.