Building Better Biology

Plants are amazing because they make most of the things we need: delicious food, fabrics, building materials, hosts of molecules that make us healthier and happier, not to mention the beautiful biospheres that fill us with wonder and sustain us. Their biology is filled with intricate mechanisms that let them turn soups of molecules from their environments into complicated structures capable of producing all these things. Our lab seeks to understand how these mechanisms can be predictably re-engineered to create crops that are more productive, delicious, and resilient to the effects of climate change. We use synthetic biology to study and create new biological systems both in plants and the creatures that interact with them, including viruses and fungi, to achieve these goals.