Team:UIUC Illinois




Mission Statement

The application of engineering principles to biology has the potential to provide solutions in a variety of different areas, including pharmaceutical drug development, disease therapies, environmental protection, chemical manufacturing, and energy production. Synthetic biology has established itself as one of the newest and most promising fields of scientific discovery in recent years. Illinois Synth was founded with the purpose of bringing together scientists and engineers to develop products that will advance the progress of synthetic biology and address some of the problems that face our society today.

Our Products

Illinois Synth is currently developing two product lines. The first of these product lines is a toolkit designed to facilitate the manipulation of gene expression in RNA. The toolkit of gene expression modulators (GEMs) revolves around an RNA-specific binding protein known as PUF, and aims to improve the versatility and cost efficiency of biological production systems. The PUF protein also has properties suited to the optimization of multi-step enzymatic pathways, which is the basis for our second product line.

As a direct application for the RNA binding abilities of PUF, we designed an RNA scaffold with the purpose of creating an enzyme conveyer belt. While there are many enzymatic pathways that could be enhanced by such a scaffold, we propose to increase the efficiency and production of piceatannol, a compound with a variety of functions including the inhibition of fat cell formation. Our final product, the In Vivo Optimized Piceatannol Cascade (IOPiC), will combine the use of PUF-protein based gene expression modulators (GEMs) and our RNA scaffold to optimize the in vivo production pathway from resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, to piceatannol, our compound of interest.

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