Congrats to Junling and Miguel on their publication “Light-driven fine chemical production in yeast biohybrids” in Science! This is our group’s first publication in Science, and it will come online tomorrow! The manuscript describes a bio-hybrid system in which we attached light harvesting nanoparticles to the surface of genetically engineered S. cerevisiae (baker’s yeast) in order to combine the strengths of inorganic materials (i.e. high light harvesting efficiency) with the strengths of biological cells (i.e. performing complex organic chemistry), and avoid their respective weaknesses. The bio-hybrid system is able to produce the desired metabolite – shikimic acid, a precursor in many drug syntheses – more efficiently than the un-engineered yeast.
Overall, this is a way to make microbial factories, which are increasingly being used for the production of drugs, nutraceuticals, and other fine chemicals, more efficient. It is akin to putting solar panels on your house so that you use less power from the grid. Check out the press release and beautiful promo video that we made with the Wyss Media Team.
Bom and Neel presented on the group’s work on engineering probiotic bacteria to make therapeutic materials in the gut at the International Conference on Microbiome Engineering (ICME), sponsored by AIChE last week. A great group of presenters! You can also check out a preprint of Bom’s work on bioRx.
Congrats to Noémie, Anna, and Jessica on their publication “Biomimetic Engineering of Conductive Curli Protein Films” in Nanotechnology! The manuscript describes the rational mutation of the protein CsgA to form protein fiber mats capable of conducting electronic charge. The work was inspired by similar naturally occurring systems that have evolved to be similarly conductive. Noémie is continuing some of this work in her own lab at McGill.