Welcome to Stanley Qi lab

Engineering Empowers Science

Introduction

The Qi lab is interested in novel genetic engineering technology development and discovery-based synthetic biology. We focus on exploring how the genome, a program of coding genes and regulatory elements, encodes complex cell functions, and how to synthetically design genomic programs that enable new therapeutics. For technology development, we have developed the CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) approach, repurposed from the natural bacterial CRISPR system, for sequence-specific transcriptional regulation of the genome in diverse organisms. We invented the use of nuclease-dead Cas9 (dCas9) for genome imaging in living cells. We are also harvest other molecules discovered from Nature for new genetic engineering capabilities. For discovery-based synthetic biology, we aim to use synthetic biology to enable new biology discoveries. We are particularly excited about rationally designing cells to carry out complex functions for cancer treatment and regenerative medicine. For example, we are seeking ways to engineer immune cells so they can sense the microenvironment signals for sensor-directed precise tumor recognition; we are engineering stem cells by manipulating their genomic programs to direct their fate; we are creating and testing such “intelligent cells” using in vitro assays and in animal models. By engineering at multiple scales from molecular to cellular to organismal levels, we hope to make engineering as a foundational discovery approach that leads to new biology. For details, refer to our detailed research description.