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April 18, 2017 | 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Category: Seminar
Location: Undergraduate Library, David Adamany Bernath Auditorium | Map
5155 Gullen Mall
Detroit, MI 48202
Cost: Free
Audience: Academic Staff, Current Graduate Students, Current Undergraduate Students, Faculty, Staff

The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to host the Nano@Wayne seminar on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 2:30 p.m to 3:30 p.m. in the Bernath Auditorium located in the David Adamany Undergraduate Library. The seminar is free and open to the public.

The Nano@Wayne Seminar Series presents, "Biology for Chemistry’s Sake" with Kristala Jones Prather, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kristala Jones Prather is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and an investigator in the multi-institutional Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC) funded by the National Science Foundation (USA).  She received an S.B. degree from MIT in 1994 and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (1999), and worked 4 years in BioProcess Research and Development at the Merck Research Labs (Rahway, NJ) prior to joining the faculty of MIT.  Her research interests are centered on the design and assembly of recombinant microorganisms for the production of small molecules, with additional efforts in novel bioprocess design approaches.


Microbes are being increasingly used as “microbial chemical factories” to produce compounds that include bulk and specialty chemicals, materials, pharmaceuticals, and biofuels.  As new products are desired through biological conversion, new methods are required to construct efficient microbial hosts for high-yield production.  Such methods build upon the established fields of Metabolic Engineering and Biocatalysis and are aided by advancements in the development of new tools under the umbrella of Synthetic Biology that facilitate re-engineering of biological systems.  Our group has a primary focus on the development and optimization of novel biosynthetic pathways towards molecules with either unknown or intractable natural biochemical routes.  Pathway design in this manner requires the recruitment and exploration of new enzyme activities (biological “Parts”), the functional assembly of multiple heterologous reactions (sometimes requiring the use of “Devices”), and the integration of these conversions with endogenous metabolism (in a cellular “Chassis”).  In this presentation, I will describe our group’s experiences with building and enhancing microbial chemical factories in this framework.

A short reception will immediately follow the seminar. 

For more information about this event, please contact Kayla Watson at 3135775600 or ft2868@wayne.edu.