Genome and Biomolecular Engineering

Our research focuses on the engineering of precision and multiplex CRISPR genome-editing techniques, which offer a safe and effective approach to addressing genetic disorders and also hold promise for engineering microbial and plant genomes, enabling the production of innovative small molecules with therapeutic potential.

  • Genome-Editing and Engineering:

    The recently discovered microbial ribonucleoprotein, CRISPR/Cas9, in complex with a single guide RNA, has been extensively applied to mediate genome editing both in vitro and in vivo. Human genetic diseases were previously recognized to be untreatable until recent advances in genome-editing research, which have been revolutionizing medicine for treating human genetic diseases. The main research interest of the Gao group is to discover and develop advanced genome-editing agents and delivery systems and apply these genome-editing tools as next-generation therapeutics to the clinical treatment of human genetic diseases.

  • Natural Products Discovery and Engineering:

    Natural products from microorganisms of diverse origins have played an extremely important role historically in drug discovery. Recent advances in human microbiome research have expanded our understanding of interactions between microbes and hosts related to human health. This unique microbial community also provides a golden opportunity for the discovery of new therapeutics. One of our main research is microbiome-based natural product discovery and engineering, and moreover, to develop enzymes involved in the natural product biosynthesis as powerful biocatalysts for difficult chemical reactions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

  • Engineering CRISPR-based ultrasensitive nucleic acid detection:

    Our laboratory is at the forefront of engineering ultrasensitive viral detection systems. By leveraging enhanced CRISPR systems, we aim to significantly improve the accuracy and timeliness of viral diagnostic methods, particularly in the context of pandemics and epidemics.

Research Sponsored by:

Co-I: R61AI167037 (2023-2026)
PI: R35GM138207 (2020-2025)
PI: C-1925  (2018-2024)
PI: C-1925  (2018-2024)
PI: C-1925  (2018-2024)
PI: CAREER CBET-2143626 (2022-2027)