ALBERT J. KEUNG, PH.D.
University Faculty Scholar
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Comparative Medicine Institute
Keck Center for Behavioral Biology
Neuroscience and Genetics Programs
North Carolina State University
Title: Information Encoding, Transmission and Storage with Biomolecules
Abstract: The orderly sequence of A, C, T, and Gs that comprise DNA evokes a simple analogy to digital information. Yet, it is clear there are many more dimensions to how information is stored, organized, and retrieved in biological systems, and that these are necessary to explain the diverse functionalities of biology. In this talk, I will discuss how synthetic biology platforms can be leveraged to decode the diverse biochemical palette of epigenetics, quantify the information transmission capacity of genes, and engineer extremely dense digital information storage systems with DNA as the information medium. We will also touch on how these principles translate upward in spatial scale to biomedical applications in neurological disorders such as Angelman Syndrome and in the engineering of human cerebral organoid models of the developing brain.
Bio: Dr. Albert Keung is an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University. His group engineers cellular and molecular platforms to understand how information in stored and accessed in biological systems. Current work includes using human stem cell models to study neuroepigenetic mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders and addiction, synthetic biology platforms to study and harness the biochemical and dynamic diversity of eukaryotic gene regulation, and application of molecular biology to engineer scalable and highly dense DNA-based information storage systems. His group’s work have been recognized by the 2017 Avenir Award from the NIH-NIDA, the 2020 ACS Synthetic Biology Young Innovator Award, the 2021 CURE-AS Innovation in Investigation Award, and a 2022 NSF CAREER Award.
Department of Chemical Engineering