NSF BIO Distinguished Lecture Series

Please join the Directorate for Biological Sciences for the 2020 lecture series (details below).

May 21, 2020 11:00 AM  to 
May 21, 2020 12:00 PM
**Postponed - NSF Headquarters Room 3410; 2415 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22314

September 24, 2020 11:00 AM  to 
September 24, 2020 12:00 PM
NSF Headquarters Room TBA; 2415 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22314

May 21, 2020,  11:00 a.m.,  Room E3410

**This lecture has been postponed. A new date and time will be posted when one is available.

Dr. Jef Boeke, New York University Langone Medical Center

Please join us on May 21st as the Directorate for Biological Sciences welcomes Dr. Jef Boeke of New York University Langone Medical Center for his Distinguished Lecture titled, "Engineering genomes, karyotypes, and the dark matter of the human genome.”

The following abstract provides insights into the lecture topic:

Rapid advances in DNA synthesis techniques have made it possible to engineer diverse genomic elements, pathways, and whole genomes, providing new insights into design and analysis of systems. In a major genome engineering effort, the synthetic yeast genome project, Sc2.0, is well on its way with the 16 synthetic Saccharomyces cerevisiae chromosomes now 99% completed by a global team. A hallmark of the synthetic genome is a set of strategically located loxP sites that enable genome restructuring using an inducible evolution system termed Synthetic Chromosome Rearrangement and Modification by LoxP-mediated Evolution (SCRaMbLE). SCRaMbLE can generate millions of derived variant genomes with predictable structures leading to complex genotypes and phenotypes.  Remarkably, the 3D structures of synthetic and native chromosomes are very similar. In a second experimental effort, the yeast karyotype was recently completely engineered, by systematically fusing pairs of telomeres and deleting single centromeres, thus generating an isogenic series of yeast ranging from n=16 to n=2. These strains show reproductive isolation and a massively altered 3D genome structure, yet they are surprisingly “Normal” and show high fitness. Finally, the DNA synthesis pipeline has been automated (the GenomeFoundry@ISG), opening the door to parallelized big DNA assembly, including assembly of human genomic regions of 100 kb along with multiple designer synthetic variants thereof. Such segments can be precisely delivered to stem cells to dissect genomic “dark matter”, to perform transplants of specific human genomic regions to animal genomes, and to endow human cells with new capabilities.


September 24, 2020,  11:00 a.m.,  Room TBA
Dr. Hopi Hoekstra, Harvard University


Please contact Jared Dashoff [jdashoff@nsf.gov] to attend in person at NSF Headquarters. Advance sign-up requests are required, and guidelines for visiting NSF are at https://www.nsf.gov/about/visit/


Meeting Type

Jared Dashoff, (703) 292-4523, email: jdashoff@nsf.gov
       Preferred Contact Method: Email

NSF Related Organizations
Directorate for Biological Sciences