One research interest of the group is Golden Gate assembly, a DNA manipulation technique that allows users to efficiently stitch together multiple DNA fragments in a single tube. Golden Gate assembly uses a simple cut and paste workflow with a restriction enzyme to generate the DNA fragments, and a DNA ligase (usually T4 ligase) to join the fragments together. In practice, Golden Gate Assembly shines in nearly all cloning applications, but has found a niche in supporting synthetic biology. In the syn-bio community, researchers use Golden Gate assembly systems to mix-and-match DNA parts for engineering applications on several different levels. This includes with protein domains for protein engineering, as well as at the transcript, operon, and even whole genome level. Our work in understanding ligase fidelity and bias has enabled us to design Golden Gate assemblies allowing unprecedented numbers of fragments to be assembled in a single reaction.
Our lab is involved in several active collaborations with partners in industry and academia to build Golden Gate assembly systems for large (>20Kb) medically relevant and biotechnologically valuable targets.