Education & Certifications

  • Bachelor of Engineering, Imperial College London, Biomedical Engineering (2015)
  • Master of Science, Stanford University, BIOE-MS (2017)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Polymerase-guided base editing enables in vivo mutagenesis and rapid protein engineering. Nature communications Cravens, A., Jamil, O. K., Kong, D., Sockolosky, J. T., Smolke, C. D. 2021; 12 (1): 1579


    Random mutagenesis is a technique used to generate diversity and engineer biological systems. In vivo random mutagenesis generates diversity directly in a host organism, enabling applications such as lineage tracing, continuous evolution, and protein engineering. Here we describe TRIDENT (TaRgeted In vivo Diversification ENabled by T7 RNAP), a platform for targeted, continual, and inducible diversification at genes of interest at mutation rates one-million fold higher than natural genomic error rates. TRIDENT targets mutagenic enzymes to precise genetic loci by fusion to T7 RNA polymerase, resulting in mutation windows following a mutation targeting T7 promoter. Mutational diversity is tuned by DNA repair factors localized to sites of deaminase-driven mutation, enabling sustained mutation of all four DNA nucleotides at rates greater than 10-4 mutations per bp. We show TRIDENT can be applied to routine in vivo mutagenesis applications by evolving a red-shifted fluorescent protein and drug-resistant mutants of an essential enzyme.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-21876-z

    View details for PubMedID 33707425

  • Discovery of a previously unknown biosynthetic capacity of naringenin chalcone synthase by heterologous expression of a tomato gene cluster in yeast. Science advances Kong, D. n., Li, S. n., Smolke, C. D. 2020; 6 (44)


    Chalcone synthase (CHS) canonically catalyzes carbon-carbon bond formation through iterative decarboxylative Claisen condensation. Here, we characterize a previously unidentified biosynthetic capability of SlCHS to catalyze nitrogen-carbon bond formation, leading to the production of a hydroxycinnamic acid amide (HCAA) compound. By expressing a putative tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) gene cluster in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), we elucidate the activity of a pathway consisting of a carboxyl methyltransferase (SlMT2), which methylates the yeast primary metabolite 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (3-HAA) to form a methyl ester, and a SlCHS, which catalyzes the condensation of 3-HAA methyl ester and p-coumaroyl-coenzyme A (CoA) through formation of an amide bond. We demonstrate that this aminoacylation activity could be a common secondary activity in plant CHSs by validating the activity in vitro with variants from S. lycopersicum and Arabidopsis thaliana Our work demonstrates yeast as a platform for characterizing putative plant gene clusters with the potential for compound structure and enzymatic activity discovery.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.abd1143

    View details for PubMedID 33127687