School of Engineering
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James H. Clark Professor in the School of Engineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering and of Bioengineering
BioUsing and Understanding Cell-Free Biology
Swartz Lab General Research Focus:
The current and projected research in the Swartz lab balances basic research in microbial metabolism, protein expression, and protein folding with a strong emphasis on compelling applications. The power and versatility of cell-free methods coupled with careful evaluation and engineering of these new systems enables a whole new range of applications and scientific investigation. Fundamental research on: the mechanisms and kinetics of ribosomal function, fundamental bioenergetics, basic mechanisms of protein folding, functional genomics, and metabolic pathway analysis is motivated by a variety of near- and medium term applications spanning medicine, energy, and environmental needs.
Swartz Lab Application Focus:
In the medical area , current research addresses the need for patient-specific vaccines to treat cancer. Particularly for lymphomas, there is a strong need to be able to make a new cancer vaccine for each patient. Current technologies are not practical for this demanding task, but cell-free approaches are rapid and inexpensive. We have already demonstrated feasibility in mouse tumor challenge studies and are now expanding the range of applications and working to improve the relevant technologies. Experience with these vaccines has also suggested a new and exciting format for making inexpensive and very potent vaccines for general use.
To address pressing needs for a new and cleaner energy source, we are working towards an organism that can efficiently capture solar energy and convert it into hydrogen. The first task is to develop an oxygen tolerant hydrogenase using cell-free technology to express libraries of mutated enzymes that can be rapidly screened for improved function. Even though these are very complex enzymes, we have produced active hydrogenases with our cell-free methods. We are now perfecting the screening methods for rapid and accurate identification of improved enzymes. After these new enzymes are identified, the project will progress toward metabolic engineering and bioreactor design research to achieve the scales and economies required.
To address environmental needs, we are developing an improved water filters using an amazing membrane protein, Aquaporin Z. It has the ability to reject all other chemicals and ions except water. We have efficiently expressed the protein into lipid bilayer vesicles and are now working to cast these membranes on porous supports to complete the development of a new and powerful water purification technology. The same lessons will be applied toward the development of a new class of biosensors that brings high sensitivity and selectivity.
Basic Life Research Scientist, Bioengineering
BioEmily received her bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. She completed her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego in 2011 in the lab of Anirvan Ghosh, studying the role of adhesion molecules in determining the electrophysiological properties of hippocampal interneurons, and identified the role of the LRR-containing protein Elfn1 in establishing target cell specificity. She continued working on the molecular control of synapse function at F. Hoffmann-La Roche in Basel, Switzerland before joining the Deisseroth Lab at Stanford in 2014. As a postdoc, she has developed methods for labeling RNA in intact, transparent tissues, and is working to apply this multiplexed transcriptional analysis to understand the role of habenular cell types in motivated behavior.
Charles Anthony Taylor
Adjunct Professor, Bioengineering
BioCharles A. Taylor received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1987, an M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1991 and his M.S. Degree in Mathematics in 1992 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He completed his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University in 1996 under the joint supervision of Thomas J.R. Hughes, Ph.D. and Christopher K. Zarins, M.D. He joined the faculty at Stanford in 1997 where he developed an internationally recognized research program in the departments of Bioengineering and Surgery focused on the development of computer modeling and imaging techniques for cardiovascular disease research, device design and surgery planning. He pioneered the field of image-based modeling by performing the first computer simulations of blood flow in patient-specific models derived from medical imaging data. He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers in internationally refereed journals (h-index 57), more than 250 peer-reviewed conference abstracts and has more than 150 issued or pending patents. While on the full-time faculty at Stanford, he supervised more than 30 PhD students and Postdoctoral Fellows. In 2004, he was appointed to a 3-year term as a special advisor to the Center for Devices and Radiological Health in the Food and Drug Administration. While at Stanford, Dr. Taylor taught courses in “Cardiovascular Bioengineering” and “Computational Methods in Cardiovascular Bioengineering”, was a founding faculty of the department of Bioengineering and led the development of the undergraduate degree program in Bioengineering. Dr. Taylor co-founded HeartFlow, Inc. in 2007 where he serves as the Chief Technology Officer and leads the technology development effort. He is an adjunct Professor of Bioengineering.
Mary Frances Nunez Teruel
Assistant Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology and, by courtesy, of Bioengineering
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe Teruel Lab uses a combination of engineering and biological approaches including high-throughput screening of RNAi and DNA construct libraries, CRISPR libraries, targeted mass spectrometry, live-cell fluorescence microscopy, and bioinformatics to investigate the systems biology of cell differentiation and tissue renegeneration, with a particular focus on uncovering the molecular mechanisms underlying insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity.