We leverage the latest advances in Synthetic Biology, Biochemistry, and Chemistry to understand and engineer complex systems.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Maciej Maselko, Assistant Professor, Macquarie University
Edward Large, University of Missouri
Mariela Rivera-DeJesus, Graduate Student, Cornell University
Programming bacteria to make a potent neuroprotective natural product. https://t.co/xFUZ0GdKvE
I am routinely inspired by the great scientists and engineers I get to work with. See Sam describe his project (wit… https://t.co/INLQiC8j6H
Great new review on microbiome engineering. Will be an exciting few years to watch new startups doing this for heal… https://t.co/R1sFFY6W58
Thanks Gavin! https://t.co/CQzT8WWxDi
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:
Cover letter, including research and career interests
Preprints of publications listed on your CV but not published
Letter of recommendation from your most recent advisor
Mike Smanski: smanski [at] umn [dot] edu
1479 Gortner Ave Room 140
St Paul, MN, 55108
Gortner Laboratory Room 344 1479 Gortner Ave
St Paul, MN, 55108