Dr. Karmella A. Haynes
Office: 275 Watson
Campus Box 7118
Davidson, NC 28035-7118
209 Ridge Road
Davidson, NC 28036
Synthetic Biology is a blossoming field with plenty of room on the cutting edge for exploratory research. Currently at Davidson College, I am working with professors A. Malcolm Campbell (Biology Dept.) and Laurie Heyer (Math Dept.) and undergraduates involved in independent research to develop computational systems in E. coli, or "living hardware."
Using BioBricks interchangeable parts and the Hin/hix recombination system from Salmonella typhimurium, we have engineered a system where tandem fragments of DNA are rearranged by inversions to generate different permutations. As a proof of concept for DNA computing in vivo, we have developed a DNA representation of the "Burnt Pancake Problem" to be solved by random reversals in vivo (see the Davidson 2006 iGEM Team page for details). Further development of the modified Hin/hix inversion system is underway to tackle the NP-complete Hamiltonian Path problem.
International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM)
Fields that involve DNA manipulation technology present tremendous opportunities to train future researchers. In addition to investigating synthetic biology in the lab, I have designed an advanced level undergraduate lecture/lab course based upon a Genomics course originated by Dr. A. Malcolm Campbell. Genomics, Proteomics, and Systems Biology uses an inquiry based approach to familiarize students with key concepts in Genomics research and gives students hands-on experience in gene annotation and microarray data analysis. The Fall 2007 students created web pages that summarize their investigations of human genetic diseases.