In the Baliga Lab at ISB we are reverse engineering biological circuits to understand how cells adapt to new environments.
All organisms have a remarkable capacity to process complex changes and adjust behavior to best suit their environment. The cascade of events from sensing an environmental change and triggering a response constitute many layers of intricate information processing pathways such as signal transduction, pre- and post-transcriptional regulation, post-translation regulation, and allosteric modulation of enzyme function. Information is propagated in a controlled manner through all of these complex layers to effect a systemic change in cell behavior. We are developing and applying systems approaches to fully understand how these complex processes operate. These studies are conducted using simple prokaryotic model organisms that are easy to culture, manipulate and interrogate in the laboratory.
Our long term vision is to use the predictive mathematical gene regulatory network models to drive strategies for engineering designer circuits for a variety of biotechnological applications such as bioenergy, bioremediation and medicine.