Colloquia & Guest Speakers

Bio-architecture: from protective biocrystals to patterned biomaterials

Dr. Anne Meyer, Department of Biology, University of Rochester

Monday, September 23, 2019
3 p.m.

Goergen 101

Anne Meyer
Anne Meyer


The Meyer lab performs research targeted at applying and re-engineering bacteria to synthesize bio-inspired materials with improved properties. This approach has the potential to replace traditional chemical approaches that require extreme environmental conditions, expensive equipment, and the generation of hazardous waste. We have targeted bacterial production of patterned artificial nacre, a biomineralized, optically active material lining seashells that combines high mechanical stiffness with high fracture toughness, as well as conductive graphene materials. Combination of our biological materials-producing systems with our newly developed 3D bacterial printers will allow the rapid and straight-forward production of spatially-structured biomaterials.We also study fundamental questions of chromosome organization in bacteria. In starving bacteria cells, Dps (DNA binding protein from starved cells) is the most abundant protein component of the chromosome. Dps compacts DNA into a dense structure that resembles a crystal, both in vivo and in vitro. We applied a combination of high-throughput sequencing, biochemical, and magnetic tweezer techniques to measure the effects on gene expression associated with Dps-induced compaction of DNA, and we found that Dps does not affect gene expression in starved cels either directly or indirectly in the cell. We hypothesize that Dps forms a dynamic liquid crystalline structure that excludes some DNA-binding proteins yet allows RNA polymerase free access to the buried genes, a behavior characteristic of phase-separated organelles.


Dr. Anne S. Meyer is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester, USA. Dr. Meyer received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Stanford University (USA) in 2005. She was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). Dr. Meyer served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bionanoscience at TU Delft in The Netherlands, prior to moving her research group to the University of Rochester in September, 2018. She has served as the lead advisor for five iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Organisms) teams, which have won numerous awards including the 2015 Grand Prize. Her research focuses on using quantitative techniques in the fields of biochemistry, microbiology, and biophysics to study structural dynamics, macromolecular interactions, and physiological responses of organisms to environmental stressors. She also uses tools of synthetic biology to engineer novel functions into microorganisms, with a particular focus on the production of improved, tunable biomaterials and the development of new tools for 3D patterning of bacteria.

Location: Goergen 101

Refreshments will be served.