Northwestern University

Thu 10:00 AM

BMG Seminar: Harnessing protease activity as ‘biological bits’ for programmable medicine - Gabriel Kwong, PhD

When: Thursday, September 13, 2018
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM  

Where: Robert H Lurie Medical Research Center, Baldwin Auditorium, 303 E. Superior, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Vanessa Hughes   312.503.5229

Group: Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics Seminar Series

Category: Lectures & Meetings


The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar Series presents:

Gabriel Kwong, PhD
Assistant Professor, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering Georgia Tech and Emory School of Medicine

Biological systems endowed with engineered biocircuits have the capacity to augment and reprogram living functions. We create biological bits (bbits) using proteases – a family of pleiotropic, promiscuous enzymes – to construct the biological equivalent of Boolean logic gates, comparators and analog-to-digital converters. We use these modules to write a fully integrable bioprogram that can combine with bacteria-infected blood, quantify infection burden, and then calculate and unlock a selective drug dose. Inspired by quantum computing, we leverage protease promiscuity as the biological analog of superposition to program three probabilistic bbits that solve all implementations of the two-bit oracle problem, Learning Parity with Noise. The use of biological enzymes as biological bits is a foundational step towards hybrid computing and programmable medicine.

Dr. Kwong is an Assistant Professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering of Georgia Tech and Emory School of Medicine. He earned his B.S. in Bioengineering with Highest Honors from University of California at Berkeley, his Ph.D. from Caltech, and conducted postdoctoral studies at MIT. As director of the Laboratory for Synthetic Immunity (LSI), Dr. Kwong leads a multidisciplinary team dedicated to advancing human health by merging engineering approaches with discoveries in immunology. His research directly impacts a broad range of complex human diseases including cancer, transplantation medicine, and infectious diseases. His work has been published in leading scientific journals such as Nature Biotechnology and Nature Medicine, and profiled broadly including coverage in The Economist, NPR, BBC, and WGBH-2, Boston’s PBS station. In recognition of his work, Dr. Kwong was named a "Future Leader in Cancer Research and Translational Medicine" by the Massachusetts General Hospital, and selected by the National Academy of Engineering to the US Frontiers of Engineering. He is recipient of the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, NIH Director's New Innovator Award, and the Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation Award. Dr. Kwong is co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Glympse Bio, which is developing a powerful new paradigm in diagnostics to enable noninvasive and predictive monitoring of multiple human diseases. He holds 11 issued or pending patents in biomedical technology.

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