Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Toronto
Our lab works in the field of synthetic biology, specifically we are pioneering in vitro devices to host cell-free synthetic gene networks for broad applications in sensing and human health. Through these efforts we are using the cell-free platform to lower the cost and technical barriers of diagnostics, and producing new biotechnologies that can be embedded into handheld portable devices. To do this we freeze-dry the enzymes of transcription and translation, along with genetically encoded tools, into porous materials such as paper. We have used this approach to create a sterile and abiotic platform for low cost diagnostics for Ebola and Zika viruses, and have also created a platform for making vaccines in the field. Through ongoing projects we are pushing the field in exciting directions and applying cell-free expression broadly to applications in biomedical research.