New Member – Dr. Natecia Baskin

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Dr. Natecia Baskin will join the Haynes lab this April as a Senior Research Specialist. She earned her B.A. in Biochemistry at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, and her Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Dr. Baskin has also completed research at the Marine Biological Laboratories, and at Emory University as a postdoctoral research fellow. Most recently, she was a science teacher and advisor at the Atlanta Girls’ School. Welcome back to Emory! We are honored to have you onboard, Dr. Baskin.

PhD Defense – Congratulations to Cassandra Barrett!

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Biological Design PhD student Cassandra Barrett just successfully defended her thesis “Engineering Open Chromatin with Synthetic Pioneer Factors: Enhancing Mammalian Transgene Expression and Improving Cas9-Mediated genome Editing in Closed Chromatin” today at 10:00 – 11:00 am in the Biodesign Institute building, room AL1-10/14. Thank you to all of the friends, family, and colleagues who came to show their support.

Cassandra joined the Haynes lab in 2015. Since then she has co-authored two research papers, and is lead author on one review article and one upcoming research article. She has been highly engaged with the broader community through science education and leadership. She served as president of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) president of the student and postdoc association (SPA), was an ASU iGEM mentor, was involved in an AZ State biotechnology policy project, and volunteered to teach bioengineering at a local prison. She aims to pursue a long term career in biotechnology.

Masters Defense – Congratulations to Fatima Hamna!

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Biomedical Engineerng MS student Fatima Hamna just successfully defended her thesis “Opening Chromatin and Improving CRISPR/Cas9 Editing” today at 2:30 – 1:30 pm in Physical Education Building East, Room 157. Thank you to all of the friends, family, and colleagues who came to show their support.

Hamna joined the Haynes lab in 2017 after learning about synthetic biology and earning top marks in Dr. Haynes’ Molecular Synthetic Biology course. She was a Fullbright Scholar and a recipient of the ASU Fulton Schools of Engineering MORE award for independent research. She aims to pursue a long term career in research with a specific focus on CRISPR-based technologies.

Dr. Haynes gives Keynote talk at Clark Atlanta University LSAMP Symposium

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Dr. Haynes gave the keynote presentation “Next-Level Gene Engineering to Study and Fight Cancer” at the Georgia Alabama Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Annual Research Symposium hosted by Clark Atlanta University on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The GA-AL LSAMP alliance includes nine partner institutions: Clark Atlanta University (the lead institution), Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Georgia State University, J.F. Drake State Community & Technical College, Lawson State Community College, Morehouse College, Paine College, Spelman College, and the University of West Georgia. Attendees of the 2019 symposium included undergraduate scholars and research mentors who presented 50-60 oral and poster presentations.

Dr. Haynes invited to speak at Abcam Chromatin and Epigenetics: Inheritance and Design

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Dr. Haynes has been invited to present her research at the Chromatin and Epigenetics: Inheritance and Design conference (4/01 – 4/03/2019) hosted by Abcam at the Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU) Nueherberg campus, in Munich, Germany. She will present “Synthetic Reader-Effectors for Epigenetic Reprogramming of Genes in Cancer” on Monday, April 1, 2019.

Research – Frontiers – Engineered orthogonal quorum sensing systems for synthetic gene regulation

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Engineered orthogonal quorum sensing systems for synthetic gene regulation
Tekel SJ, Smith CL, Lopez B, Mani A, Connot C, Livingstone X, Haynes KA. (2019) Front Bioeng Biotech. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2019.00080 (just accepted)

For the past two years, the undergraduate ASU International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Competition teams have been investigating the use of quorum sensing to build bacteria (E. coli) that can carry out chemical signaling with each other, without signaling to a different group of bacteria. In a continuation of the quorum sensing project from the 2016 team, the 2017 ASU iGEM team built and tested six new quorum sensors (Receivers) in addition to the previous sensor, LuxR. After exposing a total of seven Receivers to HSLs from ten different synthases (Senders), the team identified two sets of signaling pathways that exhibited orthogonal behavior. These results expand the toolbox of characterized components for engineering microbial communities. The plasmid constructs featured in this paper were contributed to public collections for use by the scientific community.

Related resources:

  1. Pre-print: Engineered orthogonal quorum sensing systems for synthetic gene regulation. bioRxiv. doi:

Dr. Haynes receives membership in Emory Winship Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics program

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Dr. Haynes is one of the newest members of the Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics program at the Emory Winship Cancer Institute. The goal of this research program is to better understand the fundamental mechanisms underlying genetic and epigenetic instability, and how these factors contribute to the onset and progression of human tumors with the goal of exploiting these mechanisms to reduce cancer mortality. View Dr. Haynes’ profile here: