Synthetic Biology Discussion Group

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Dr. Michael Aregger, a post-doctoral fellow in the Moffat lab, will give a talk titled “Global mapping of human genetic interactions using CRISPR-Cas screens.”

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

CRISPR-Cas technology has revolutionized genome editing and has facilitated the elucidation of gene function and therapeutic targets for diseases such as cancer. During my PostDoc in Jason Moffat’s lab I have developed and applied genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screens for the identification of fitness genes in human cells. More recently, I have applied CRISPR screens for the global mapping of genetic interactions for genes functioning in cellular metabolism, whose rewiring is a cancer hallmark and a major focus in the development of novel therapeutic agents. Our data reveals extensive cross talk between metabolic pathways and uncovered the functional role of previously uncharacterized genes. Finally, we have developed a novel CRISPR-Cas screening platform that allows for highly specific combinatorial targeting of multiple genes, genetic elements or genomic sites. We have applied this platform to reveal extensive genetic interactions between paralogous genes and uncovered previously masked phenotypes due to genetic redundancy.

Collectively, in this seminar I will present the CRISPR-based screening strategies we have generated to map genetic interaction networks in human cells that can be leveraged to study the wiring of cellular states, determine novel gene functions and serve as a source for the rational design of combinatorial anti-cancer therapeutic strategies.