Field-Programmable, Recombinase-Based Biomolecular Circuits

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This project funded by the Army's Institute for Collaborative Biotechnology, an Army University Affiliated Research Center (UARC)

Current participants:

  • Andrey Shur (PhD student, BE)

Additional participants:

  • John Marken (PhD student, BE)
  • Rory Williams (PhD student, BE)


Past participants:

  • Joe Meyerowitz (PhD student, BMB)



This project explores the use of recombinases -- integrases, excisionases, and other methods of manipulating DNA -- as platform for engineering biomolecular circuits. Our high-level goal is to develop a design-oriented framework for recombinase-based, genetically-encoded circuits that can be used for detection, diagnostics, and logging of environmental signals and events. The specific objectives this project are to:

  • Develop circuit components, mathematical models, experimental protocols, and system characterization methods that enable recombinase-based circuits to be designed and utilized in a systematic fashion.
  • Implement a set of biological “event detectors” in both cell-free and cell-based assays, and demonstrate their utility in applications that combine digital, analog, and stochastic operations.


  • Agency: Army Research Office
  • Grant number: ICB-2019-SSB-02-Murray
  • Start date: 1 Dec 2018
  • End date: 30 Nov 2021
  • Support: 1 graduate student, part-time technician
  • Reporting: Annual reports