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Eerik Kaseniit

Mammalian (human) synthetic biology promises to deliver smart therapies for complex conditions like cancer as well as tools for basic biology by rewiring existing or creating novel biological pathways. Similar to tiny robots, engineered therapy cells take in information using molecular sensors, process that information, then respond appropriately (e.g., by detecting and taking down a cancerous cell). I am creating new kinds of genetically encoded sensors for detecting molecules both inside and outside the therapy cell. My sensors, unlike existing ones, are designed with immunogenicity in mind, so that the engineered cells are more compatible with the human immune system. These sensors will allow for therapeutic translation as well as enable novel research into complex cellular systems like the brain or immune system.