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From Molecular Recording to Biometallurgy: Applications of Synthetic Biology
Start Date: 3/5/2014Start Time: 3:00 PM
End Date: 3/5/2014End Time: 4:00 PM

Dr. Bradley Zamft
Harvard Medical School
Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy: US Department of Energy

Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 3pm
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 736
Washington, DC 20052

Hosted by: Dr. Michael Plesniak (

The field of Synthetic Biology is rapidly advancing from one of tool development and characterization, to one of application and engineering. Dr. Zamft will present his work on engineering plants to reflect more unproductive light, which could help mitigate problems associated with climate change and plant water use, as well as the use of engineered microorganisms to reduce the climate impacts of energy-intensive manufacturing. Finally, Dr. Zamft will present his work performed at Harvard Medical School, which aims to create a genetically-encoded molecular recording device for neural and environmental sensing applications. This work relies his graduate work performing single-molecule biophysical assays on RNA polymerases, which will be discussed as well.

Dr. Zamft is currently a Visiting Scientist in the laboratory of Prof. George Church at Harvard Medical School, where he continues his postdoctoral research aimed at creating DNA polymerase-based devices for scalable neural recording. He concurrently serves as a AAAS/ARPA-E Fellow at the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy at the US Department of Energy, where he helps to direct the agency’s effort to produce drop-in compatible biofuels directly in plants, and performs research aimed at identifying new technical areas within which the agency could invest, particularly in the areas of agriculture and energy-intensive materials manufacturing. His graduate work under Prof. Carlos Bustamante at the University of California, Berkeley consisted of two projects: one in synthetic biology aimed at creating a synthetic cell from a mitochondrion, and one in single molecule biophysics aimed at elucidating the kinetics of transcriptional pausing. He holds a BS in Applied & Engineering Physics from Cornell University, and a MS and PhD in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley.
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