Today, Lingchong You from Duke University presented Programming bacteria in time and space. His group uses synthetic gene pathways to control bacterial multi-cellular patterns and cell behaviors.
One of his projects produced bacteria that assemble gold nanoparticles on their surfaces, and as a multi-cellular colony, the bacteria form a mini-dome-like “shell”. Dr. You’s group demonstrated that when two of these shells are pressed together manually, they can conduct a current and complete a circuit. He demonstrated this with a fun video of two bacterial shells being pressed like a button to turn a small light on and off.
Dr. You also highlighted the work of Allison Lopatkin, a member of his lab and a CSHL Synthetic Biology alum. She used what she learned from the course to develop a synthetic system to track conjugation in bacteria in living cells and to understand the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes.