Stanley Qi lab @ Stanford Bioengineering

Genetic Engineering | Synthetic Biology | Cell Design and Therapy

The Stanley Qi laboratory is interested in developing new genetic engineering technologies and exploring discovery-based synthetic biology for biomedical applications. We study how the mammalian genome encode proteins and other regulatory functions, and how to rationally re-engineer the genome and genetic circuits for therapeutics. For technology development, we repurposed the bacteria Clustered Regularly InterSpaced Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) system and developed the first demonstration of nuclease-deactivated Cas9 (dCas9) for sequence-specific gene regulation in the genome. We developed the CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) and CRISPR activation (CRISPRa) technologies as switches to activate or repress genes in the genome. We developed CRISPR imaging that allows tracking the dynamics of desired genomic locus in living cells. We developed CRISPR-GO (genome organization) that enables 3-dimensional manipulation of the genome structure and nuclear architecture. We developed methods that couple receptors to CRISPR tools to engineer immune cells that can precisely sense the environment signals and regulate the genome program. For discovery-based synthetic biology, we adopted principles and techniques in the synthetic biology for biological or biomedical discoveries. We are understanding the fundamental principles of molecules and circuits in the cell: for example, how T cell receptors perform tumor-killing functions in response to antigens, and how stem cells coordinate multiple pathways to determine their cell fate. By engineering at multiple scales from molecular to cellular to organismal levels, we hope to make bioengineering as a method to discover novel biology and develop technologies.