Seth Shipman, Ph.D.

Shipman
Title
Assistant Investigator
Department
Data Science and Biotechnology
Institution
Gladstone Institutes
Address
1650 Owens St.
City, State, Zip
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone
415-734-4058
E-mail
[email protected]
Website
https://www.shipmanlab.org/
Research Field
Bioengineering
Award Year
2020

Research

The Shipman lab is developing a novel method for introducing engineered DNA sequences into living cells. Although gene therapy holds great promise for the treatment of human disease, the approach faces many technical hurdles: Delivering engineered genes to the appropriate target cells is an inefficient process and can do damage if directed to the wrong cell or the wrong chromosomal location. To overcome this limitation, the Shipman lab is developing techniques that will allow it to generate designer DNA sequences in abundance, and on demand, from inside the cell itself. As a postdoctoral fellow, I modified parts from the bacterial CRISPR system—which researchers traditionally use to inactivate target genes—to insert new synthetic DNA sequences into a cell’s chromosomes. Now, using techniques in molecular engineering and synthetic biology, we will co-opt other bacterial parts to produce DNA sequences on the spot in live cells. This newly synthesized DNA can have myriad applications, including reprogramming the cell’s genes or recording biological data in DNA to log information about the cell’s ongoing state. This work will add to the molecular toolbox used to manipulate living cells and provide a new means of engineering molecular therapeutics.

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