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Faculty-Run Labs

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Read about the exciting research areas pursued by our 29 faculty-run labs.

Altman Lab (Helix Group):  We use informatics, data science and AI to understand how drugs work, how we can discover new drugs and how we can use drugs alone and in combination to create new therapeutic strategies.

Barron Lab:  Biomimicry of natural host defense peptides and lung surfactant proteins, and their development as therapeutics to treat infectious diseases and acute lung injury or respiratory distress; and investigations into the etiology of sporadic Alzheimer's dementia.

Bintu Lab:  We use systems and synthetic biology approaches to characterize the dynamics of gene and chromatin regulation in mammalian cells.  Our goal is to build a quantitative and predictive framework to improve mammalian cell engineering.

Boahen Lab (Brains in Silicon): Biophysical modeling and theoretical analysis to reverse-engineer the brain and computational abstractions and engineering frameworks to synthesize brainy computers.

Brophy Lab: We develop synthetic biology tools and approaches for plants and their associated microbes. Our goal is to use genetic engineering to build a sustainable future.

Bryant Lab:  We develop biophysical methods for watching individual molecules in motion and for mechanically manipulating one molecule at a time. We study how molecular-scale machines have evolved to carry out complex tasks in living systems. We also use protein engineering to create customized versions of biological nanomachines. These engineered molecules can be used to alter and control biological functions in cells. By measuring and modifying the properties of nanomachines at the heart of biology, we are working to advance a physical understanding of life that bridges scales from molecules to organisms.

Camarillo Lab (CamLab): Our laboratory designs devices and algorithms to precisely measure and control motion/forces in the brain, heart, lung, and reproductive system. We are interested in sensors, machine learning, robotics, biomechanics and pathophysiology as a means of solving pressing clinical problems.

Cochran Lab: We use combinatorial and rational methods to engineer designer protein therapeutics for applications in regenerative medicine and oncology. We also develop new technologies for high-throughput protein analysis and engineering.

Deisseroth Lab: We work on developing and applying high-resolution tools for controlling and mapping specific well-defined elements within intact and fully-assembled biological systems, for the study of neural physiology and behavior in freely-moving mammals. We are interested both in natural behaviorally-relevant neural circuit dynamics, and in pathological dynamics underlying neuropsychiatric disease symptomatology and treatment.

Delp Lab (Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab): NMBL investigators use their expertise in biomechanics, computer science, imaging, robotics, and neuroscience to analyze muscle function, study human movement, design medical technologies, and optimize human performance.

Endy Lab: We work to strengthen the foundations and expand the frontiers of synthetic biology. Our foundational work includes (i) advancing reliable reuse of bio-measurements and -materials via standards that enable coordination of labor, and (ii) developing and integrating measurement and modeling tools for representing and analyzing living matter at whole-cell scales. Our work beyond the frontiers of current practice includes (iii) bootstrapping biotechnology tools in unconventional organisms (e.g., mealworms, wood fungus, skin microbes), and (iv) exploring the limits of whole-genome recoding and building cells from scratch. We also support strategy and policy work related to bio-safety, security, economy, equity, justice, and leadership.

Fan Yang Group:  Our mission is to develop the next generation of therapeutics for regenerating human tissues and treating diseases such as musculoskeletal diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.  We are passionate about developing biomaterials-based "Lego building blocks" for forming 3D artificial cell niche with tunable niche cues to promote desirable stem cell differentiation and tissue regeneration. 

Fischbach Group: Human microbiome, including technology development, molecular mechanisms, and novel therapeutics. Viral engineering for cell and gene therapy. 

Fordyce Lab: We develop new microfluidic technologies for high-throughput and quantitative biochemistry and biophysics. With these platforms, we probe how molecular sequence dictates function with the goal of understanding how mutations drive disease and how we can design molecules with new functions.

KC Huang Lab: Our lab is driven to understand how cells determine their shape, form, and physiological state. We are inspired by the beauty of mechanism - discovery of how biological systems integrate physics, chemistry, and mathematics to achieve functions that manifest only in living matter.

Lee Lab:  Our lab is interested in understanding how the brain works at the systems level. We use interdisciplinary approaches from biology and engineering to analyze, debug, and manipulate systems-level brain circuits. We seek to understand the connectivity and function of these large-scale networks in order to drive the development of new therapies for neurological diseases. 

Lin Lab:  We engineer proteins for remote control and sensing of biology in living animals. Our work includes fast fluorescent voltage indicators for visualizing electrical activity in the brain, generalizable designs for photocontrollable proteins, and programmable molecular devices for detecting and treating cancer.

Liphardt Lab:  We investigate the organization and dynamics of single molecules in living cells using new optical tools. In these studies, we collect time-series data and then analyze them to find underlying regulatory and organizational principles. 

Markus Covert Lab:  Our lab invents new technologies related to systems biology; in particular to enable us to better measure, analyze, and mathematically model the behaviors of individual cells.

Marsden Lab: We develop patient-specific computational methods to study blood flow, biomechanics and mechanobiology in pediatric and adult cardiovascular disease and medical devices.

Nuyujukian Lab (Brain Interfacing Laboratory):  Our research mission is: understanding causal relationships between multidimensional cortical dynamics and behavior, improving the diagnosis and treatment of brain-related disorders such as stroke and epilepsy, and establishing brain-machine interfaces as a platform technology for neurological disorders.

Possu Huang Lab (Protein Design Lab): We develop cutting edge protein modeling AI tools and build molecular platforms to address biomedical needs. We are particularly interested in understanding protein structural dynamics, enzyme function, and molecular assembly, using “design” as a process to conduct basic scientific investigation. Additionally we focus on developing applied molecular medicine and build novel protein tools to engage the immune system and signaling receptors.

Prakash Lab: We are a curiosity driven lab and use interdisciplinary approaches to understand how computation is embodied in biological matter including study of non-model organisms with significant focus on life in the ocean. We are also dedicated towards inventing, building and scaling-up “frugal science” tools to democratize access to science such as Foldscope, diagnostics of deadly diseases like malaria and convening global citizen science communities to tackle planetary scale environmental challenges such as mosquito or plankton surveillance by citizen sailors mapping the ocean in the age of Anthropocene.

Quake Lab:  Our research is concerned with developing new approaches to biological measurement and applying these approaches to problems of both fundamental and medical interest. 

Skylar-Scott Lab:  We develop new integrative biofabrication methods towards the goal of whole-organ engineering. Our main focus is on building heart and vascular tissues to provide new therapies for children born with congenital heart defects.

Smolke Lab:  Our research efforts focus on the development of new molecular and genetic tools, computational approaches, and measurement technologies that will transform our ability to study, manipulate, and program biological systems. 

Stanley Qi Lab: We combine CRISPR genome engineering, molecular engineering, synthetic biology, and bioinformatics to study human genomics, as well as to develop novel gene therapy and cell therapy to treat cancer, degeneration, and infectious diseases. 

Swartz Lab: We turn the cell inside out to make novel targeted delivery vehicles, vaccines, and energy related technologies.

Wah Chiu Lab:  We develop experimental and computational methodology for cryo-electron microscopy and tomography and their applications to a broad spectrum of biological systems from molecules to cells essential to understand various biological processes.

Wang Laboratory:  We integrate functional genomic analysis, novel microscopy, and physical models to study whole-body regeneration, the ability to regenerate all body parts.