Farren Isaacs

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Yale University
Isaacs, Farren

Farren Isaacs is Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Systems Biology Institute at Yale University. He received a B.S.E in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. from the Biomedical Engineering Department and Bioinformatics Program at Boston University. In his Ph.D., he pioneered the development of synthetic RNA components capable of probing and programming cellular function.

As a research fellow in the Genetics at Harvard, he then invented enabling technologies for genome engineering, including MAGE (Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering) and CAGE (Conjugative Assembly Genome Engineering). His research is focused on developing foundational genomic and cellular engineering technologies with the goal of developing new genetic codes, and engineered cells that serve as factories for chemical, drug and biofuel production.

He has recently been named a “rising young star of science” by Genome Technology Magazine and a Beckman Young Investigator by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

Wed July 10 | 2:00 - 4:00 | Parallel Session
ABSTRACT: Programming Genomes To Re-Engineer Life’s Functional Repertoire

A defining cellular engineering challenge is the development of high-throughput and automated methodologies for precise manipulation of genomes. To address these challenges, we develop methods for versatile genome modification and evolution of cells. Multiplex automated genome engineering (MAGE) simultaneously targets many locations on the chromosome for modification in a single cell or across a population of cells, thus producing combinatorial genomic diversity. Conjugative assembly genome engineering (CAGE) facilitates the large-scale assembly of many modified genomes. Our methods treat the chromosome as both an editable and evolvable template and are capable of fundamentally re-engineering genomes from the nucleotide to the megabase scale. I will present one application of MAGE to generate combinatorial genomic variants from a complex pool of synthetic DNA to diversify target genes in order to optimize biosynthetic pathways. Then, I will also describe the integration of MAGE and CAGE to engineer a Genomically Recoded Organism (GRO), replacing all 321 UAG stop codons with the synonymous UAA stop codon in E. coli. This work increases the toolbox for genomic and cellular engineering with the goal of expanding the functional repertoire of organisms.