BME 7900 Seminar - Pamela Silver, PhD



Weill Hall 226


This week, we welcome Dr. Pamela Silver from the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School and The Wyss Insitute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Her talk is entitlted "Biological Design for Health and the Environment". Abstract: The engineering of Biology presents vast opportunities for therapeutic design, diagnosis, prevention of disease and solutions to environmental problems. We use what we know from Nature to engineer systems with predictable behaviors. We also seek to discover new natural strategies to then re-engineer. Here, I will present concepts and experiments that address how we approach these problems in a systematic way. In one instance, we engineer components of the gut microbiome to act as both diagnostics and therapeutics. In doing so, we have been able to explore the inflamed gut. With relationship to environmental needs, we have developed the ‘bionic leaf’ to channel sunlight via electrocatalysts to commodity producing bacteria. In doing so, we have discovered a wide spread strategy by which all prokaryotes sequester chemical reactions to protect from toxic intermediates. These results have far-reaching implications for cell-based manufacturing and sustainability. Bio: Pamela Silver is the Elliot T and Onie H Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. She is also a member of the Harvard University Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Her group combines lessons from Nature to the design of new organisms for both discovery and applications. She received her BS in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Cruz and PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University where she was a Fellow of the American Cancer Society and The Medical Foundation. Her work has been recognized by an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association, a Research Scholar of the March of Dimes, an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, a Claudia Adams Barr Investigator, an NIH MERIT award, a Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute, top ten innovations by the World Economic Forum and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has served on numerous editorial boards, was the Editor of Molecular Biology of the Cell, has served on the Council of the American Society for Cell Biology and on the Committee for Women in Cell Biology, presented to members of Congress and is a co-founder of Karyopharm Therapeutics (NASDAQ:KPTI) that makes novel anti-cancer drugs and other biotech companies. In her free time, she enjoys sailboat racing and running.