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Next Generation Sequencing Within Biological Tissues – Richie Kohman at the Wyss Institute

Richie Kohman, Synthetic Biology Platform Lead at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering discusses his work on Next Generation Sequencing within biological tissues

The Synthetic Biology Platform at the Wyss Institute is innovating the use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to study intact biological tissues.  NGS is one of the most advanced methods in biotechnology, having experienced a million-fold cost reduction over the past two decades.  The availability of modern sequencing chemistries now enables the multiplexed readout of a myriad of targets within cells.  These methods are now being pursued to analyze the immense molecular complexity within tissues to give insights into healthy and diseased cellular architecture.  Additionally, the Synthetic Biology Platform is pioneering the writing of synthetic molecular signatures into biological systems and subsequently reading them out using NGS. Because many biological processes are challenging to study, the ability to tag, or write-in, desired molecules at specific times or locations within cells enables these phenomena to be studied more effectively.

Richie E. Kohman, Ph.D.

Dr. Richie Kohman is the Lead of the Synthetic Biology Platform, a research division at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute which specializes in the reading and writing of biological systems for applications in healthcare, computing, and the environment.  He oversees all research conducted in The Platform, encompassing projects related to in situ omics, viral engineering & gene delivery, neurotechnology, cell & tissue engineering, gene editing, and nucleic acid synthesis & sequencing. He is an expert in developing novel chemistries for the analysis of biological tissues, especially for neural tissue.  Prior to joining the Wyss Institute, Richie worked as Group Leader at the startup company Expansion Technologies, Inc. where he brought techniques and reagents for high resolution molecular mapping of tissues to market. He obtained his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University with an affiliation at the MIT Media Lab. His work has been published and highlighted by top journals and magazines such as Nature, Science, Forbes, and Wired.

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