Pamela A. Silver

Department of Systems Biology and the Wyss Institute
for Biologically Inspired Engineering
Harvard Medical School
Warren Alpert Building, Room 420
200 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

tel: (617) 432-6401; FAX: (617) 432-5012

Research Summary:

What can we build with biology? We use a synthetic biology approach to understanding biological systems through design, making new biological structures with proteins and nucleic acids, new genetic networks, and new metabolic pathways with applications in basic science, medicine, and the environment. Our designs derive from what we learn from systems biological analyses.  Current projects use mammalian cells, plants, simple eukaryotes and prokaryotes.  Understanding how to program cells in a rational way will have value, for example, in stem cell design, drug therapy and the environment.

Some primary project areas include:  Designing novel genetic pathways in mammalian cells, S. cerevisiae, and prokaryotes to probe basic cell biology, to better understand cancer initiation and progression, and to design potential diagnostics and therapeutics; and Engineering metabolism for sustainably by producing medicines, commodity chemicals, and fuels to understand and optimizing photosynthetic carbon fixation in cyanobacteria and plants and developing novel electrofuel producers.   Other projects include organization of interactions within and between cells with novel scaffolds.

In sum, we seek to predictably design biology to address pressing issues in health and sustainability using state of the art technologies. Students have the opportunity to contribute to many active projects in these areas and to develop their own related ideas in an exciting environment.

Selected Publications:

Burrill, D.R., Inniss, M.C., Boyle, P.M., Silver, P.A.  (2012).  Synthetic memory circuits for tracking human cell fate.  Genes Dev. 26(13):1486-97.

Agapakis, C.M., Boyle, P.M., Silver, P.A.  (2012).  Natural strategies for the spatial optimization of metabolism in synthetic biology.  Nat Chem Biol.  8(6):527-35.

Delebecque, C.J., Lindner, A.B., Silver, P.A., Aldaye, F.A.  (2011).  Organization of intracellular reactions with rationally designed RNA assemblies.   Science. 333(6041):470-4.

Smolke, C.D., Silver, P.A.  (2011).  Informing biological design by integration of systems and synthetic biology.  Cell. 144(6):855-9.

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