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Biochemistry Seminar: Dr. Wen Shan Yew (National University of Singapore) "New Wine from Old Barrels: Tales of Synthetic Enzymology"

Event Type
Dr. John Gerlt
Charles G. Miller Auditorium, Room B102 Chemical & Life Sciences Laboratory
Nov 8, 2013   12:00 - 1:00 pm  
Dr. Wen Shan Yew
Cara L. Day
Originating Calendar
Biochemistry Department Seminars

ABSTRACT:  Synthetic enzymology is an enabling discipline within synthetic biology. Current synthetic biology does not have a widely accepted singular definition, but encompasses (and is not limited to) the areas of genomics, structural biology, biochemistry, systems biology, molecular and cell biology, chemical biology, protein engineering and design, and biomolecular design. Four aspects of synthetic enzymology, namely 1) mechanistic enzymology, 2) in vitro enzyme evolution and engineering, 3) combinatorial biosynthesis, and 4) genome and proteome engineering, will be presented to highlight how this enabling discipline can be used for therapeutic development and bioremediation purposes: 1) Mechanistic insights to an unusual amino acid decarboxylase involved in tumorigenesis will be presented, along with our current efforts in drug discovery; 2) Efforts in directed evolution of quorum-quenching enzymes will highlight the utility of enzyme engineering in anti-virulence therapeutic development; 3) Our efforts in synthetic polyketide enzymology will be presented to delineate a possible biosynthetic route to anti-ageing therapeutic development; 4) Our exploration of synthetic lixiviant engineering will be presented as a means to achieve bioremediation for environmental sustainability. As the field of synthetic biology matures, the means to design synthetic biologically-based systems to perform new purposeful functions will require the amalgamation of various enabling disciplines, including new disciplines that draw inspiration from established ones.

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