Title

Early Detection of Colon Cancer Using a Synthetic Biological System in E. coli

Presenter Information

Dylan Courtney

Department

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Major

Chemical Engineering

Research Advisor

Westenberg, David J.

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths; however, an early diagnosis can often lead to a complete recovery. Some early tests for colon cancer detect the presence of blood stool samples. The small amounts of blood in stool are often unnoticed by patients. Utilizing E. coli as a chassis it may be possible to create a genetic system to detect these trace amounts of blood in the intestine utilizing hemophore proteins originally found in Serratia marcescens. The signal generated from this detection of blood would then be amplified, spreading to other bacteria and causing a high level of expression of a chromoprotein. This protein when expressed in ample amounts would cause a change in the color of one's feces. The E. coli expressing this system could potentially be delivered in a yogurt to the intestines of people with high colon cancer risk.

Biography

Dylan is a sophomore in Chemical Engineering intrigued by the microbiology based processes essential to biochemical engineering. He is an active member of the iGEM student design team, which focuses on utilizing synthetic biology principles to create biological machines. Dylan is interested in the possibility of research as a career path, and plans to utilize the experience he has gained as an undergraduate to pursue a degree in graduate school, hopefully being able to continue his interdisciplinary education combining principles of both microbiology and chemical engineering.

Research Category

Research Proposals

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Presentation Date

03 Apr 2013, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Apr 3rd, 1:00 PM Apr 3rd, 3:00 PM

Early Detection of Colon Cancer Using a Synthetic Biological System in E. coli

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths; however, an early diagnosis can often lead to a complete recovery. Some early tests for colon cancer detect the presence of blood stool samples. The small amounts of blood in stool are often unnoticed by patients. Utilizing E. coli as a chassis it may be possible to create a genetic system to detect these trace amounts of blood in the intestine utilizing hemophore proteins originally found in Serratia marcescens. The signal generated from this detection of blood would then be amplified, spreading to other bacteria and causing a high level of expression of a chromoprotein. This protein when expressed in ample amounts would cause a change in the color of one's feces. The E. coli expressing this system could potentially be delivered in a yogurt to the intestines of people with high colon cancer risk.