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Biosystems Design by Directed Evolution
Prof. ZHAO Huimin, Steven L. Miller Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Bioengineering, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Date : 14 Dec 2018 (Friday)
Time : 2:00 - 3:30 pm
Venue : IAS Lecture Theater, Lo Ka Chung Building, Lee Shau Kee Campus, HKUST
Co-sponsored by Center of Systems Biology and Human Health, HKUST
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By mimicking the Darwinian evolution in the test tube, directed evolution has become a powerful and indispensable tool for the design and engineering of biological systems including proteins, pathways, and genomes for fundamental research and biotechnological applications. In this talk, the speaker will give a historical account of the directed evolution field and discuss the challenges and opportunities in directed evolution. He will highlight his team’s recent work on the development and application of novel directed evolution tools for genome engineering. Specifically, he will introduce three genome evolution strategies including RNA interference assisted genome evolution (RAGE), a CRISPR transcriptional activation, interference, and gene deletion (CRISPR-AID) based genome evolution method, and a CRISPR–Cas9- and homology directed-repair (HDR)-assisted genome-scale engineering (CHAnGE) method that enables rapid engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae on a genome scale with precise and trackable edits. In addition, he will introduce a data-driven directed evolution approach for biosystems design.


About the speaker

Prof. Zhao Huimin is the Steven L. Miller Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He received his BS in Biology from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1992 followed by his PhD in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1998 under the guidance of Prof. Frances ARNOLD. Prior to joining UIUC in 2000, Prof. Zhao was a project leader at the Industrial Biotechnology Laboratory of the Dow Chemical Company. He was promoted to full professor in 2008.

Prof. Zhao’s primary research interests are in the development and applications of synthetic biology tools to address society’s most daunting challenges in health, energy, and sustainability, and in the fundamental aspects of enzyme catalysis, cell metabolism, gene regulation, and cell differentiation.

Prof. Zhao received numerous research and teaching awards and honors, including the Marvin J. Johnson Award in Microbial & Biochemical Technology (2018), the Biotechnology Progress Award for Excellence in Biological Engineering Publication (2017), the Charles Thom Award (2016), the Elmer Gaden Award (2014), Guggenheim Fellowship (2012), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2010), Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) (2009) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Food, Pharmaceutical, and Bioengineering Division Plenary Award Lecturer (2009).


For attendees’ attention


  The lecture is free and open to all. Seating is on a first come, first served basis.
  Light refreshments will be served from 3:30 to 4:00 pm.



HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study
Enquiries: ias@ust.hk / 2358 5912