Eileen Hu

Eileen  Hu
MIT EECS | Himawan Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Advisor: Ron Weiss
Department: EECS
Areas of Research: Biological Engineering
Years: 2018-2019
Research Project Title:

Developing RNA-based Synthetic Biology Circuits

abstract:Synthetic biology brings together a broad range of disciplines across biology and engineering to design and construct novel biological circuits or modify existing biological systems. Over the course of my research project, I will be developing RNA-based circuits using a library of RNA endonucleases that cleave in the middle of RNA polynucleotides to disrupt function in combination with other RNA constructs. I will work with both computational models and modular wet lab experiments to build up these circuits. RNA-based systems limit the amount of exogenous proteins, reducing load and stress on the cell and also avoid immune responses to these proteins. Development of circuits using these RNA switches opens up the tool to many future applications, especially for therapeutic intervention.

I'm looking forward to taking the skills I learned in Biological Circuit Engineering Laboratory (6.129) and apply them to designing and building synthetic biology circuits in a new context. This research has the potential for therapeutic applications and is also at the forefront of the synthetic biology field. I'm excited about learning about the current tools and techniques currently being used in the field and about helping develop new tools.