LDRD Seminar Series: ‘Biology at Speed: A Novel Experimental Framework’
Bioinformatician/Molecular Biologist Gyorgy Babnigg (BIO) will discuss his Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) sponsored work at the LDRD Seminar Series presentation Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.
“Biology at Speed: A Novel Experimental Framework” begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Bldg. 203 Auditorium. All are welcome to attend.
The ever-increasing throughput of DNA sequencing is revolutionizing biology. Processing DNA sequence data via state-of-the-art bioinformatics techniques provides the blueprint, the genetic potential, of complex biological systems. Functional annotation of DNA sequences from a given sample is generated by computational methods based on sequence or structure homology of characterized proteins. This approach has been immensely successful in modern biology by providing functional hypotheses for thousands published studies. However, in many cases even high-confidence annotations did not hold true when tested in the laboratory, highlighting the importance of experimental validation. Furthermore, many biochemical reactions taking place in cells are not associated with a particular enzyme, revealing significant gaps in our knowledge of metabolism. Additionally, only 1 percent of the proteins in databases used for function transfer have actual experimental evidence further highlighting the need for a high-throughput experimental characterization framework of metabolic enzymes applicable to the discovery of novel pathways and the refinement of genome-scale metabolic models.
We are developing microfluidics-based approaches to scale up and miniaturize the enzyme characterization pipeline at the Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility. Digitizing samples in small volumes enables the observation of single cells in isolation, the measurement of activities of enzyme variants produced in single cells, and screening of expression libraries with significant increase in throughput and saving on reagent cost.
Gyorgy Babnigg is interested in how biological systems work at the cellular, subcellular and molecular level. More specifically, he is interested in signaling networks in eukaryotic and microbial systems and in the structure-function relationship of proteins and protein-protein complexes using structural bioinformatics. He has built several database systems, web and desktop applications, and Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) supporting proteomics and structural biology.
Babnigg is also interested in developing computational resources that help to answer systems biology questions. In addition, he is working on the miniaturization of biological workflows using microfluidics and lab automation. He earned his Ph.D. in molecular physiology and pharmacology from the University of Chicago. He received his postdoctoral training at the University of Chicago and at Argonne National Laboratory. Currently, he is a bioinformatician/molecular biologist in the Biosciences Division and a senior fellow at the University of Chicago Computation Institute, a joint institute of Argonne and the University of Chicago.