Synthetic Biology Discussion Group

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Jenise Chen, a PhD candidate in the Kelley lab, will give a talk titled “A multiplexed, electrochemical interface for cell-free synthetic toehold-mediated gene networks”.

This group is open to investigators, trainees and staff affiliated with the University of Toronto. To sign up and receive information about upcoming meetings, please contact Laura Prochazka.

Talk abstract

The implementation of colorimetric detection techniques has offered a powerful means of producing rapid qualitative results with easy visual readout. However, these techniques are usually limited to either a “yes” or “no” answer and have difficulty multiplexing over three targets simultaneously. Electrochemical detection is capable of providing solutions to these limitations. The key advantage of electrochemical assays is the ability for signal amplification, allowing for trace analyte detection. Recent literature has highlighted the promising avenues of synthetic biology and cell-free gene circuits. This project is the first of its kind to detect cell-free synthetic gene circuits through electrochemical readout. A gold-based electrochemical sensor has been designed to implement five different detection sites for restriction enzyme cutting of surface-immobilized DNA labelled with methylene blue. Restriction enzymes are produced through a cell-free toehold gene circuit and are easily redesigned for disease-specific detection. By coupling electrochemical detection and cell-free toehold gene circuits, we were able to create a multiplexed assay for applications in antibiotics and antibiotic resistance detection.