COLLEGE STATION, Texas,
March 24, 2008 - Christopher A. Voigt, assistant professor at the
University of California's San Francisco Department of
Pharmaceutical Chemistry, will discuss his research Friday, March
28, as part of the Spring 2008 J. D. Lindsay Lecture Series at
Texas A&M University.
His presentation "Programming Bacteria: From Toy Systems to
Applications" is scheduled from 3-4 p.m. in Rm. 106 of the Jack E.
Brown Building and is sponsored by Texas A&M's Artie McFerrin
Department of Chemical Engineering.
Voigt's research focuses on programming cells to perform
complex, coordinated tasks for pharmaceutical and industrial
applications. His laboratory is engineering new sensors that give
bacteria the senses of touch, sight and smell. In addition, he is
developing theoretical tools from statistical mechanics and
non-linear dynamics to understand how to combine genetic devices
and predict their collective behavior.
As part of his research, Voigt has engineered a strain of
bacteria that can invade tumors. Such bacteria could potentially be
used to deliver cancer-treating drugs into the cells and kill them.
He's also developed a lawn of E. coli that reacts like a strip of
film - turning white where light was shone and black where it
wasn't.This "living camera" uses light to switch on genes in a
genetically modified bacterium that then cause an image-recording
chemical to darken.
Voigt earned his doctorate in biochemistry and biophysics from
the California Institute of Technology in 2002 after attending the
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor where he received his
undergraduate degree in chemical engineering. After obtaining his
doctorate, Voigt worked at University of California-Berkeley in the
field of systems biology. In 2003, he started his own lab at UCSF,
which focuses on problems in biotechnology and synthetic
In 2007, Voigt was named a Packard Fellow by the David and
Lucile Packard Foundation. He also is a Sloan Fellow and has been
honored as young innovator in the "2006 Technology Review 35."
Voigt has received the National Science Foundation's CAREER Award
as well as the Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching. In
addition, Voigt is a Pew Charitable Trusts Scholar.
In honor of Professor J.D. Lindsay, Texas A&M's first
chemical engineering department head, the department established
the Lindsay Lecture Series to bring speakers to the university.
Coming from both industry and academia, the lecturers are
recognized for their accomplishments in the practice, teaching
and/or research of chemical engineering. The series also allows the
lecturers several days for visiting the university and the
department and for exchanging ideas on teaching and research
objectives and methods.