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We leverage the latest advances in Synthetic Biology, Biochemistry, and Chemistry to understand and engineer complex systems.

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1. Genetic Design Optimization

Living organisms build the most complex and useful chemicals known to man. We use novel engineering strategies to re-write the genetics of natural product biosynthesis. We apply this to discover and over-produce molecules from nature that have applications as drugs, pesticides, and herbicides.

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2. Engineered Speciation

Species boundaries are defined by pre-zygotic and post-zygotic barriers to genetic exchange. By engineering such barriers, we can essentially create ‘new’ species. We apply this technology to limit the gene flow between populations and as a mechanism to control or eradicate pest organisms. Synthetic species can also be used as drivers of evolution in competitive co-cultures.

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3. Complex Systems Engineering

Since the advent of recombinant DNA technology in the early 1970’s, most biotechnology applications are comprised of relatively simple, single-gene systems. We are leveraging advances in algorithmic DNA assembly to design, build, and test large, multi-gene systems with applications in medicine, agriculture, and the environment.

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Recent Publications

1.    Hsu S, Perusse D, Hougard T, Smanski MJ (2019) Semi-synthesis of the neuroprotective metabolite, Serofendic Acid. ACS Synth. Biol. https://doi.org/10.1021/acssynbio.9b00261      

2. Smanski MJ, Zarkower D (2019) Genetic manipulation of sex ratio in mammals: the Reaper comes for Mickey. EMBO Reports (2019)e48577 DOI: 10.15252/embr.201948577

3.       Perusse D, Smanski MJ (2019) Stereoselective semi-synthesis of the neuroprotective natural product, serofendic acid. Med. Chem. Commun. 10:951-960. DOI: 10.1039/C9MD00145J.

4.       Bajer P, Ghosal R, Maselko M, Smanski MJ, Lechelt JD, Hansen G, Kornis M (2019) Biological control of invasive fish and aquatic invertebrates: a brief review with case studies. Management of Biological Invasions. 10: 200-226.

5.       O’Brien SA, Lee K, Fu HY, Lee Z, Le TS, Stach CS, McCann MG, Zhang AQ, Smanski MJ, Somia NV, Hu WS (2018) Single copy transgene integration in a transcriptionally active site for recombinant protein synthesis. Biotechnol. J. 13(10) doi:10.1002/biot.201800226.

6.       Maselko M, Heinsch SC, Das S, Smanski MJ (2018) Genetic incompatibility combined with female-lethality is effective and robust in simulations of Aedes aegypti population control. bioRꭓiv doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/316406.

7.       Heinsch SC, Das S, Smanski MJ (2018) Simulation modelling to compare high-throughput, low-iteration optimization strategies for metabolic engineering. Front. Microbiol. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.00313

8.       Hsu S, Smanski MJ (2017) Designing and implementing algorithmic DNA assembly pipelines for multigene systems. In Synthetic Metabolic Pathways, eds Jensen MK, Keasling JD. Methods Mol. Biol.  ISBN 978-1-4939-7295-1

9.       Maselko M, Heinsch SC, Chacon J, Harcombe W, Smanski MJ (2017) Engineering species-like barriers to sexual reproduction. Nat. Comm. 8:883 doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01007-3

Google Scholar Link to Complete Publications…

Group Members

 
Michael J Smanski  Assistant Professor smanski [at] umn [dot] edu 612.624.9752

Michael J Smanski Assistant Professor smanski [at] umn [dot] edu 612.624.9752

Chris Stach  Postdoctoral Scholar cstach [at] umn [dot] edu

Chris Stach Postdoctoral Scholar cstach [at] umn [dot] edu

Stephen Heinsch  Graduate Student heins049 [at] umn [dot] edu

Stephen Heinsch Graduate Student heins049 [at] umn [dot] edu

Amanda Hayward  Postdoctoral Scholar haywa028 [at] umn [dot] edu

Amanda Hayward Postdoctoral Scholar haywa028 [at] umn [dot] edu

Bingbing Zhang  Visiting Research Assistant zhan7278 [at] umn [dot] edu

Bingbing Zhang Visiting Research Assistant zhan7278 [at] umn [dot] edu

Dimitri Perusse  Postdoctoral Scholar dperusse [at] umn [dot] edu

Dimitri Perusse Postdoctoral Scholar dperusse [at] umn [dot] edu

Sam Erickson  Graduate Student eric4204 [at] umn [dot] edu

Sam Erickson Graduate Student eric4204 [at] umn [dot] edu

Siba Das  Postdoctoral Scholar dass [at] umn [dot] edu

Siba Das Postdoctoral Scholar dass [at] umn [dot] edu

Nathan Myslicki  Undergraduate Student mysli019 [at] umn [dot] edu

Nathan Myslicki Undergraduate Student mysli019 [at] umn [dot] edu

Aleksandra Bajer  Undergraduate Student bajer007 [at] umn [dot] edu

Aleksandra Bajer Undergraduate Student bajer007 [at] umn [dot] edu

Juan Armando Casas-Mollano  Postdoctoral Scholar jcasasmo [at] umn [dot] edu

Juan Armando Casas-Mollano Postdoctoral Scholar jcasasmo [at] umn [dot] edu

Suzie Hsu  Graduate Student hsuxx166 [at] umn [dot] edu

Suzie Hsu Graduate Student hsuxx166 [at] umn [dot] edu

Jack Dalluge  Undergraduate Student dallugej [at] carleton [dot] edu

Jack Dalluge Undergraduate Student dallugej [at] carleton [dot] edu

Ben Carson  Undergraduate Student

Ben Carson Undergraduate Student

Adam Sychla  Graduate Student sychl001 [at] umn [dot] edu

Adam Sychla Graduate Student sychl001 [at] umn [dot] edu

Matthew Zinselmeier  Graduate Student (co-Advised) zins0031 [at] umn [dot] edu

Matthew Zinselmeier Graduate Student (co-Advised) zins0031 [at] umn [dot] edu

Ambuj Upadhyay  Postdoctoral Scholar upad0023 [at] umn [dot] edu

Ambuj Upadhyay Postdoctoral Scholar upad0023 [at] umn [dot] edu

Jesse Gates  Undergraduate Student gatesj [at] carleton [dot] edu

Jesse Gates Undergraduate Student gatesj [at] carleton [dot] edu

Jessica Halverson  Undergraduate Student halve404 [at] umn [dot] edu

Jessica Halverson Undergraduate Student halve404 [at] umn [dot] edu

Nate Feltman  Graduate Student feltm006 [at] umn [dot] edu

Nate Feltman Graduate Student feltm006 [at] umn [dot] edu

Past Members

Thomas Hougard, Scientist, Harvard Medical School

Duncan Mincks, Graduate Student, UMN

Madeline Nicol, Manufacturing Associate, Takeda

Basem Al-Shayeb, Graduate Student, UC Berkeley

Duc Hoang, Graduate Student

Dakota Snustad, Medical Scribe

Alec Vallota-Eastman, Graduate Student, UC Santa Barbara

Sabina Kim

Maciej Maselko, Assistant Professor, Macquarie University

Edward Large, University of Missouri

Mariela Rivera-DeJesus, Graduate Student, Cornell University

Recent News

U of M’s Gene-Editing Method to Fight Mosquito-Borne Diseases Gets NSF Funding  LINK

U of M’s Gene-Editing Method to Fight Mosquito-Borne Diseases Gets NSF Funding LINK

Synthetic species made to shun sex with wild organisms  LINK

Synthetic species made to shun sex with wild organisms LINK

New way to prevent genetically engineered and unaltered organisms from producing offspring  LINK

New way to prevent genetically engineered and unaltered organisms from producing offspring LINK

Come work with us!

We are part of the Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics (BMBB) Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota. We are looking for postdocs, students, and scientists in bioinformatics and computational biology, microbiology, chemical engineering, and related areas. Please send the following information to the address given below:

  1. Cover letter, including research and career interests

  2. CV

  3. Preprints of publications listed on your CV but not published

  4. Letter of recommendation from your most recent advisor

    Mike Smanski: smanski [at] umn [dot] edu

 

 

Smanski Lab

Mail:

1479 Gortner Ave Room 140
St Paul, MN, 55108

Visit:

Gortner Laboratory Room 344 1479 Gortner Ave
St Paul, MN, 55108