Pamela A. Silver Ph.D.
We seek to both enhance our understanding of natural biological design, and to develop tools and concepts for designing cells, tissues and organisms. In the long term, we hope to develop principles for building synthetic cells that act as sensors, memory devices, bio-computers, producers of high value commodities and energy from the sun, and to build novel subsystems such as proteins with designed properties for therapeutic use. Current projects use mammalian cells, simple eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Understanding how to program cells in a rational way will have value, for example, in stem cell design, drug therapy and the environment. These experiments use a combination of theoretical and experimental approaches that are well suited to students with backgrounds in biology, engineering, or any allied field.
We also take advantage of the spatial organization of cells to further understand key disease pathways. For example, the movement of key proteins in and out of the nucleus and mRNA processing is often one of the downstream steps in signal response. We have taken advantage of this spatial organization to screen for small molecules and genes that affect signaling pathways and therapeutic targets. We employ a combination of high-resolution microscopy, modeling and cell-based screens. Results from these experiments provide a basis for some of the synthetic biological designs.
Current projects in the lab include: Programming eukaryotic cells; novel therapeutic design strategies and designing sustainability by harnessing sunlight and carbon capture. We also welcome new ideas from students.
The Silver Lab works at the interface between systems and synthetic biology to design and build biological systems in both mammalian and prokaryotic cells. Some current projects include analysis of cells that remember past events, cell-based computation and therapeutics, and metabolic engineering for bio-energy and sustainability.
Programming eukaryotic cells; novel therapeutic design strategies and designing sustainability by harnessing sunlight and carbon capture. We also welcome new ideas from students.