Our group has been developing genetic tools for RNA synthetic biology using computational design, which we have experimentally validated in E. coli in our lab. Our computational design algorithms allow designing allosteric conformational changes in the RNA to functionalise it by reconstituting RBSs, ribozymes or CRISPR/Cas9 systems. For instance, we have recently published an allosteric guide RNA that could get activated by an endogenous mRNA. This could be used against bacterial pathogens, as it allows interrogating the endogenous transcriptome and activating a CRISPR Cas9 (or a dCas9) when a specific target gene is transcribed (without having to modify the target gene).
Our long-term goal is to create genetic antimicrobials based on RNA devices delivered by phages. For this, we have also been engineering efficient gene delivery systems to transduce RNA devices into bacteria (see our P2 phage publication).
We work at the interface of experimental molecular biology, combinatorial optimisation, microfluidics and directed evolution. Joint us to create RNA-powered phages against pathogenic bacteria.
We are looking for strongly motivated and talented people willing to contribute developing a disruptive methodology to create new molecules and phages different to anything known ("de novo"). In particular, we aim to create a new generation of personalized antimicrobials based on synthetic phages and RNA devices.