The Boeke lab has long been known for foundational work on mechanistic and genomic aspects of retrotransposition in both yeast and mammalian systems, and, after more than three decades, we continue to scrutinize our favorite genomic parasites. In addition, our lab is heavily involved in the development of novel technologies in genetics, genomics and synthetic biology. Our group uses yeast as a platform for exploring the construction of fully synthetic chromosomes for practical and theoretical studies. We have congregated an international consortium called SC2.0 to rewrite and synthesize the first eukaryotic organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We project complete synthesis and “debugging” of the entire genome by the end of 2020.
In 2018, we launched the ambitious “Dark Matter Project” to begin parsing the function of non-coding DNA. Our initiative is to design an innovative new technology to introduce directed modifications to select gene loci. The process begins with the assembly of synthetic genomic libraries (100 kb and larger) engineered to contain systematic variations in yeast. The assemblies are then inserted at precise genomic locations in mammalian cells using a scar-less delivery approach and each individual variant, or combination of variants, is surveyed for effects on phenotype. Last but not least, we explore epigenetics and chromatin structure, as we are interested in deciphering the complexity of human chromatin organization by rewriting the system in budding yeast using a progressive bottom-up approach.
Jef Boeke, PhD
Director, Institute for Systems Genetics
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
NYU Langone Health Science Building, 9th Floor
435 East 30th Street
New York, NY 10016