Alyssa  Cartwright

Alyssa Cartwright

Scholar Title

MIT EECS — Angle Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar

Research Title

Optical Control of Engineered Mammalian Cells




Rajeev J. Ram


Microbioreactors that enable microfluidic control of synthetic biological systems offer great potential for applications in pharmaceutical production. Microbioreactors have previously demonstrated tight control over protein expression in cell cultures via manipulation of the chemical environment. In this research, we aim to modify an existing reactor in order to allow for optical regulation of gene expression in genetically engineered mammalian cell lines. It has previously been shown that by exposing genetically engineered cells to different wavelengths of light, it is possible to produce orthogonal responses of protein production. The aim of this project is to develop a programmable biopharmaceutical platform with optical instrumentation.


I’ve long been fascinated by the applications of optics and photonics in biological systems. I conducted research at Vanderbilt this summer that investigated the use of photonic crystals as biosensors, so I’m excited to reapply the technical skills I have on a different project that has very tangible applications.

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