Haynes lab presenting research at the 2022 Mid-Atlantic Synthetic Biology Symposium

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MASBNPhD student Kierra Franklin will present her latest research as a poster at the 3rd annual Mid-Atlantic Synthetic Biology Research Symposium (MASBS) which is taking place December 1 – 2, 2022 at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  This will be the first year that this annual event will be hosted in Atlanta, GA. Karmella Haynes is serving as Co-Chair with Mark Styczynski (GA Tech). The MASBS is organized by the Mid-Atlantic Synthetic Biology Network (MASBN), a community of researchers, educators, entrepreneurs (academia, government, and the private sector) from Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia who share a common interest in synthetic biology and its supporting technologies.

Haynes lab presents research at the 2022 EpiBio Conference

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epigenetics_and_bioengineering_conference_logo_webPhD student Rick Kim and undergraduate researcher Maya Jaffe are presenting their latest research at the 6th International Conference on Epigenetics and Bioengineering (EpiBio 2022) which is taking place October 27 – 29, 2022 at the Rice University Bioscience Research Collaborative in Houston, Texas.  EpiBio brings together interdisciplinary expertise to foster the development of new technologies and tools to answer biological questions in epigenetics. Dr. Karmella Haynes is serving as an organizing committee member. The poster presentations from the Haynes lab include:

  • Maya Jaffe (undergraduate researcher), “Pre-Initiation Complex Recruitment By Synthetic Reader-Actuators Triggers an Anti-Cancer Expression Profile in Breast Cancer”
  • Rick Kim (PhD student), “Investigating Promoters and Enhancers Targeted By a Synthetic Reader-Actuator in H3K27me3-Enriched Chromatin”

Symposium – BME Symposium on Health Disparities

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Coulter-BME-5Ltext-4515-540Triple negative breast cancer is highly lethal, is resistant to therapy, and continues to disproportionately affect African-American women (X Du 2022). Some studies suggest that mortality is highest in Black women with obesity (LA Carey et al 2006). To investigate the molecular mechanism of obesity-induced aggressiveness in triple negative breast cancer, we have teamed up with the Henry lab (Dr. Curtis Henry, Emory Pediatrics), the first group to discover an obesity-associated drug target in patients with leukemia.  Results from our new collaboration, “Murine model to identify epigenetic mediators of obesity-associated drug resistance in triple negative breast cancer” will be presented by Dr. Haynes at the BME Symposium on Health Disparities on Monday, April 18, 2022 at the Historic Academy of Medicine in Atlanta, GA.

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Haynes lab members present research at the 2021 SEED conference

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SEED2017Four members from the Haynes lab presented their latest research at the 2021 Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution & Design (SEED) conference that took place June 16 – 18, 2021 on a virtual platform. SEED 2021 focused on advances in science, technology, applications, and related investments in the field of synthetic biology. Dr. Karmella Haynes served as session chair for “Translating Synthetic Biology into the Clinic” and the “Funder’s Panel.” The four poster presentations from the Haynes lab included:

  • Dr. Isioma Enwerem (postdoc), “Time-course expression profiling reveals early and late responders to a synthetic chromatin regulator”
  • Harrison Priode (research specialist), “Synthetic epigenetic reader engineering with an all-in-one cell-free expression and protein interaction microarray”
  • Paige Steppe (undergraduate researcher), “Using newly-identified epigenetic reader-effector BAHCC1 to engineer a H3K27me3-binding transcriptional activator”
  • Dr. Natecia Williams (senior research specialist), “A synthetic chromatin reader-effector activates key silenced tumor suppressor genes in triple negative breast cancer cells”

Funding – BME Animal Model Development Grant to Study Disease Disproportionately Affecting Black Americans

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Dr. Karmella Haynes has received a one-year seed grant from the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering to develop an animal model to gain mechanistic insights into a disease that disproportionately affects African-American people. The project “Murine Model to Identify Epigenetic Mediators of Obesity-associated Drug Resistance in Triple Negative Breast Cancer” will be completed by a collaboration between the Haynes epigenetic engineering lab and Dr. Curtis Henry’s cancer research lab (Emory University, Pediatrics). Triple negative basal-like breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly metastatic subtype, comprises 10-20% of all breast cancers, disproportionately affects pre-menopausal Black women compared to White women, and is the most prevalent in obese Black women. Human samples and an obese mouse model will be used to deconvolute the relationship between obesity, triple negative breast cancer progression, epigenetics, and drug resistance. The results will be used to secure longer-term funding from major grant agencies so that the team can identify new drug targets for more effective treatments.


Coulter BME | Emory & Georgia Tech blog. 06.01.2021. “Seed Grants Fund Foundational Work on Diseases Disproportionately Affecting Black Americans.”

2nd Annual AfroBiotech Conference – Virtual

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AfroBiotech, a new conference series founded by Dr. Karmella Haynes (Emory University) and co-chaired by Dr. Manu Platt (Georgia Tech), was launched by an inaugural meeting on October 27-29, 2019 in Atlanta, GA at the Hyatt Centric Midtown hotel. This year, the conference will be held as a virtual event October 26 – 28, 2020 to provide a safe and accessible event for the biotech community. The conference is organized by the Society for Biological Engineering (SBE), part of the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

Thanks to our generous sponsors, registration is free! Once you register, you can access the virtual conference through the AfroBiotech 2020 portal.


Haynes lab leads launch of new AfroBiotech conference

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AfroBiotech, a new conference series founded by Dr. Karmella Haynes (Emory University) and co-chaired by Dr. Manu Platt (Georgia Tech), was launched by an inaugural meeting on October 27-29, 2019 in Atlanta, GA at the Hyatt Centric Midtown hotel. The conference was organized by the Society for Biological Engineering (SBE), part of the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Thanks to 90-plus registered attendees and over 30 poster presenters the first conference was a solid success and is scheduled to take place again in Atlanta in 2020 during the fall.

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Dr. Haynes Presents Research and Career Journey at UGA Genetics Seminar

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Dr. Haynes was invited to present her work to the Department of Genetics at the University of Georgia (UGA). She presented a talk titled “Challenges and opportunities for epigenetic engineering in triple negative breast cancer” on Wednesday, November 3, 2019. Her past and current research was presented in the context of her interdisciplinary career path, under the alternate title “How a fruit fly biologist became a cancer-fighting protein engineer in Biomedical Engineering.” The shareable content of the talk (published data and some unpublished illustrations) is available as a pdf file here: 2019_KHaynes_UGA_shared


Dr. Baskin presents research at 1st NIH Synthetic Biology Consortium Meeting

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Dr. Natecia Baskin, Senior Research Specialist in the Haynes lab, presented a research poster entitled “Engineered chromatin proteins to reprogram gene expression in breast cancer” at the Synthetic Biology Consortium Meeting hosted by the NIH in Bethesda, MD on October 28-29, 2019. She represented the Haynes lab in workshops to discuss the current and future landscape of synthetic biology’s impact on emerging health-related technologies.

Funding – Haynes Lab Receives R21 from the NIH NCI

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Dr. Haynes will lead a project to discover the biochemical rules that determine how genes in cancer cells respond to engineered chromatin proteins. Her team’s two-year project “Predictable control of gene regulation through epigenetic engineering” has just received an R21 grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) National cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Haynes (Emory) and Dr. Chris Plaisier (collaborator, Arizona State University) will bring together expertise in chromatin engineering with computational biology to develop a new microarray platform to design synthetic chromatin proteins, and to develop a computer algorithm to predict whether these proteins will have a therapeutic effect in cancer cells.