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Contact Info

Center for Systems & Synthetic Biology


The University of Texas at Austin
MBB 3.106
2500 Speedway, A4800
Austin, TX 78712

The Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology (CSSB) at UT represents an amalgam of researchers who are attempting to not only quantitatively understand and engineer the interaction and regulatory networks that underlie organismal metabolism, but also to foster a new way to carry out interdisciplinary research.

Undergraduates participate heavily in the research endeavors in the various labs involved in the CSSB. Graduate students frequently interact with several advisors on large, collaborative projects during their careers in order to garner a range of skills and insights. Senior researchers, such as postdoctoral fellows, lead research teams that can take responsibility for large tasks, such as characterizing deletion libraries or developing reagents that can fully probe interaction networks. The CSSB also has its own Fellows, who can work between faculty but who also chart their own directions.

The research endeavors carried out under the auspices of the CSSB are the antithesis of the top-down, single lab, flat organizational models that traditionally dominate discipline-driven research. The CSSB complements the Genome Sequence and Analysis Facility (GSAF, which the CSSB assists in supporting) and the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (CCBB) by providing insights not only into Big Data collection and analysis, but also into how to develop and apply tools for all aspects of high-throughput biology (metagenomics, proteomics, metabolomics, genome manipulation).

In addition, the Center maintains its own Gene Synthesis Facility, which assists in the high-throughput construction and assembly of large pieces of designed DNA and has on-call expertise for the computational design of proteins, protein engineering, immunotyping and antibody production, and ChIP-based analyses of genome interactions. Overall, members of the CSSB work together to integrate results well beyond sequencing and synthesis into a more holistic understanding of cells and organisms.

 ICMB Faculty Members

Jeffrey Barrick
Andrew Ellington (Associate Director)
Ilya Finkelstein
George Georgiou
Vishwanath Iyer (Co-Director)
Edward Marcotte (Co-Director)
Andreas Matouschek
Chris Sullivan
Stephen Trent
John Wallingford
Marvin Whiteley
Claus Wilke



Research Interests

Disease. Developing computer models to better understand a multitude of human diseases and crop traits.

Drugs. Discovering drugs based on genetic modules shared between humans and organisms as distant as yeast.

Point-of-care. Developing diagnostics for resource-limited settings using smart molecular amplifiers.

Immunity. Using cutting-edge genome sequence technology to map immune responses.

Emerging viruses. Finding methods to predict the emergence of the next threats.

Molecular computation. Developing programmable molecules that contribute to sensors, amplifiers, and organismal operating systems.