Jeff Hasty

Principal Investigator

Academic Biography

Jeff Hasty received his Ph.D. in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1997, where he learned how to do science from his advisor Kurt Wiesenfeld. He was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow at Boston University, where he learned engineering from Jim Collins in the Applied BioDynamics Lab ('98-'01). Somewhere during his postdoctoral stay with Jim he mutated from a theoretical physicist into a hybrid computational/molecular biologist. He is currently at the University of California, San Diego, where he is a Professor in the Departments of Molecular Biology and Bioengineering, Director of the BioCircuits Institute, and Co-Director of the UCSD qBio Ph.D Specialization Program. His major scientific achievements have been in the fields of Synthetic and Systems Biology. In Synthetic Biology, he and his group has established a new paradigm for the design and construction of genetic circuits in living cells. They developed this paradigm by engineering new methods for coupling the dynamics of single cells, such that circuit design is viewed at the level of many interacting colonies of bacteria. In Systems Biology, they have shown how regulatory networks that underly metabolism can mediate the cellular response to a dynamically changing environment. Using computational modeling and microfluidic devices, they have predicted and demonstrated the importance of active degradation of unnecessary transcripts upon diauxie shift. They subsequently showed that this process optimizes growth rate due to a spatially localized competition for translational machinery between metabolic transcripts and transcripts that drive cell cycle progression. Technical achievements have focused on the development of microfluidic technology. Their devices are applicable to many cell types and contain traps that are designed to facilitate healthy cell growth in a monolayer, which ensures the same focal plane for high resolution microscopy. They have designed a system that subjects the cells to a periodic or randomly modulated environmental input signals. Cells, constructs, and microfluidic devices from their lab are in use for research and teaching around the world and they are known for sharing genetic circuits and microfluidic technology that ``just work''.

Curriculum Vitae