15th CeMM Landsteiner Lecture
Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Biophysics, & Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF (USA)
Beyond Evolution: Building New Cellular Functions and Therapies
Monday, 9 May 2022, 6.00 pm
Festive Hall, Haus der Industrie
Schwarzenbergplatz 4, 1010 Vienna
Host: Giulio Superti-Furga
Lim Wendell’s laboratory has played a pioneering role in the emerging field of synthetic biology, especially in developing innovative tools and strategies to engineer mammalian cells capable of executing precision therapeutic sensing/response behaviors. In the past, his lab studied the mechanisms underlying cell signaling and decision-making systems at multiple scales, ranging from signaling proteins and domains, to intracellular circuits, to multi-cellular networks. They have been particularly interested in understanding how nature’s toolkit of modular domains have been recombined through evolution to generate new and diverse response behaviors. As they have focused on these design principles, they have turned to synthetic biology – the redesign of biological systems – to build novel or modified signaling proteins and pathways. Synthetic biology approaches allow them to systematically reconstitute and understand network structure/function relationships. These approaches also have allowed them to begin engineering cells that can carry out precise custom sensing/response actions, such as therapeutic immune cells that can precisely recognize and treat complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmunity, and degeneration.