Bioengineering Seminar Series
“Optogenetic Tools for Engineering Biological Circuits”
Brian Chow, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania
Optogenetics permits myriad events in cell signaling, excitability, and gene transcription to be optically perturbed and sensed, thereby providing a set of input/output interfaces to biological circuits with the biochemical precision of pharmacological agents and the spatiotemporal resolution of optoelectronic devices. The rapidly expanding toolbox is ultimately comprised of proteins that induce or report physiological changes in response to light. This talk will focus on the creation of novel optogenetic tools with enhanced biochemical functions and spectral range, which have been gained through genomic discovery of novel photoreceptors, structure-guided protein engineering, and/or artificial protein design from first principles. Applications of these tools in decoding the computational principles of biological circuits in context of therapeutic interventions will also be discussed.