Laboratory for Genome Engineering & Synthetic Biology

We develop and apply genome engineering and synthetic biology approaches and harness engineering and evolution principles to design and build genetic networks and thus engineer organisms with improved traits for key applications, including crop improvement, biomanufacturing, and diagnostics.

Our research interests are:

Bioengineering technologies will transform and reshape the future of medicine and agriculture and will revolutionize our ability to understand and engineer genomes. In our laboratory, we develop and apply genome engineering technologies to understand and evolve gene functions and to improve traits of value.  We develop technologies for engineering cells to biomanufacture high-value products, including key compounds and select chemicals and pharmaceuticals in different synthetic biologic chassis, including plants, bacteria, and yeast. We translate ideas into products and design and construct novel synthetic gene networks for the overproduction of critical biomolecules.

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Latest

News

21 June, 2020

The test we need

Researchers at KAUST are developing a test that is rapid, accurate and easy to use in the field—can it help flatten future curves?

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05 April, 2020

Better plant edits by enhancing DNA repair

A protein hijacked from a bacterial pathogen helps to facilitate more precise genome editing in plants.

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26 January, 2020

Fusion of the Cas9 endonuclease and the VirD2 relaxase facilitates homology-directed repair for precise genome engineering in rice

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Sci-Café: COVID-19 Part IV

featuring, panelists Charlotte Hauser, Stefan Arold and Magdy Mahfouz, with moderator Naadiya Carrim, Our KAUST panel of experts will share how they are tuning their work to contribute to a broad range of solutions to the challenges of COVID-19.

Patents

TARGETED VRAL-MEDIATED PLANT GENOME EDITING USING CRISPR Cas9

by Mahfouz, Magdy M., Ali, Zahir
Patent Year: 2015

Extra Information

Publication number: WO 2015/18693 Al

Abstract

The present disclosure provides a viral-mediated genome-editing platform that facilitates multiplexing, obviates stable transformation, and is applicable across plant species. The RNA2 genome of the tobacco rattle virus (TRV) was engineered to carry and systemically deliver a guide RNA molecules into plants overexpressing Cas9 endonuclease. High genomic modification frequencies were observed in inoculated as well as systemic leaves including the plant growing points. This system facilitates multiplexing and can lead to germinal transmission of the genomic modifications in the progeny, thereby obviating the requirements of repeated transformations and tissue culture. The editing platform of the disclosure is useful in plant genome engineering and applicable across plant species amenable to viral infections for agricultural biotechnology applications.
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