Vatsan Raman, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry, and postdoctoral researcher Phil Huss have been awarded funding from the WARF Accelerator for their proposal, “Using ORACLE-engineered Bacteriophages to Edit Microbial Communities.”
WARF Accelerator provides resources for inventors, including industry expertise and targeted funding, to help de-risk commercially promising and urgent technologies and advance them closer to the marketplace. The award will help to commercialize the technology developed in the Raman Lab to create synthetic, therapeutic bacteriophages — viruses that infect bacteria — for treating drug-resistant bacterial infections and microbiome-linked diseases.
The ORACLE (Optimized Recombination, Accumulation and Library Expression) can be used to help engineer phages with desired functions by systematically mapping how changes to phage genomes affect how the phage interacts with its host. The result is a library of variants which researchers can use to determine each mutations impact on phage structure and function.
This work builds on the Raman Lab’s research, which takes systems and synthetic biology approaches to understanding and engineering biological systems at protein-wide and genome-wide scales.