We aim to produce a standard of novel strains of microbes engineered to be controlled despite an inadvertent release to the environment. Our team is engineering kill switches based on naturally occurring RNA sensors to enhance the safety of these strains. We will use structural design software to produce RNAs capable of turning on the production of ion and antibiotic transporter genes thus crippling the cell from two insults. We will expand the work to other naturally occuring RNA- and protein-based switches after modeling the performance of these engineered components in a reductionist environment. Once the suite of kill switches has been produced, we will test biosensor systems under the control of these kill switches and model the ability to control an inadvertent release of these GMOs to the environment. The incumbent will have experience in molecular biology, bacterial cloning procedures, skills with bioinformatics, a track record of publications and the ability to work within a dynamic group of people at West Point.
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