May 2023

BESE Distinguished Lecture Series

From Genetics parts to synthetic genomes

Professor Patrick Yizhi Cai
15 May, 2023
10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Over the last 9 years, my lab has been building synthetic yeast chromosomes from scratch. These synthetic yeast cells are engineered to allow genome-wide directed evolution with a system call SCRaMbLE (Synthetic Chromosome Recombination and Modification by LoxP-Mediated Evolution). SCRaMbLE allows the synthetic cells to process the information (e.g. environmental stress) differently from their wildtype counterparts, and also enables them to re-configure the genomes to cope with the environments. Finally, I will also discuss the progress of making a minimal yeast genome with genome SCRaMbLEing.

Prof. “Patrick" Yizhi Cai received a bachelor degree in Computer Science in China, a master degree in Bioinformatics from University of Edinburgh in the UK, and a PhD in Genetics, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from Virginia Tech in the USA. Prof. Cai had his postdoctoral fellowship under Jef Boeke in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prof. Cai serves as a senior scientific consultant to Beijing Genomics Institute and is the first Autodesk Distinguished Scholar. From 2013 to 2017, Prof. Cai had his own research group at the University of Edinburgh with a prestigious Chancellor's Fellowship, and his lab focuses on Computer Assisted Design for Synthetic Biology, NeoChromosome design and synthesis in the yeast, and DNA assembly automation. In the summer of 2017, Prof. Cai moved to the University of Manchester as the new chair professor in synthetic genomics. Prof. Cai co-founded Edinburgh Genome Foundry, the International Centre for Synthetic Genomics at BGI, and the GP-Write China Centre at Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 2022, Prof. Cai was awarded by EPSRC with a 5 years fellowship to work on biosecurity and biosafety mechanisms for synthetic genomes. In 2023, Prof. Cai was awarded a ERC Consolidator Award to engineer non-coding RNAs using a synthetic genomics approach.

Event Quick Information

15 May, 2023
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Auditorium (0215) between bldgs 4 & 5