Welcome to the Maerkl lab, the Laboratory of Biological Network Characterization (LBNC)
We conduct research at the interface of engineering and biology and are active in the areas of systems biology, synthetic biology and molecular diagnostics. We are driven by our desire to learn how to rationally design and engineer biological systems. Unfortunately, despite a vast foundation of fundamental biological knowledge accumulated over the last century, it remains difficult to engineer biological systems, indicating that basic biological research alone is not sufficient to enable biological engineering. We propose that injecting engineering concepts into biology such as reverse engineering, quantitative analysis, and computational/biophysical modeling will enable biological engineering and fundamentally change how the scientific community and the general public applies biological systems in the 21st century. Our specific biological interests lie primarily in reverse engineering gene regulatory networks, transcriptional regulation, transcription factor biophysics, cell-free synthetic biology, protein engineering, and in developing next-generation molecular diagnostic devices. Progress in biological engineering is also heavily dependent on technological and methodological innovation. To address these requirements we are developing novel, state-of-the-art microfluidic technologies and molecular methods to address current limitations in biological engineering.