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Huimin Zhao

Huimin Zhao to lead ACS Synthetic Biology as editor in chief

July 5, 2022

The Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has appointed University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Huimin Zhao (CABBI/BSD/GSE/MMG Affiliate, CGD) as editor in chief of ACS Synthetic Biology. Zhao previously served as a founding associate editor of ACS Catalysis, a position he held from 2011–2022.


July 5, 2022


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CABBI Team Develops Automated Platform for Plasmid Production

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Plasmids have extensive use in basic and applied biology. These small, circular DNA molecules are used by scientists to introduce new genes into a target organism. Well known for their applications in the production of therapeutic proteins like insulin, plasmids are broadly used in the large-scale production of many bioproducts.

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Portable, affordable, accurate, fast: Team invents new COVID-19 test

May 19, 2021

A new coronavirus test can get accurate results from a saliva sample in less than 30 minutes, researchers report in the journal Nature Communications. Many of the components of the hand-held device used in this technology can be 3D-printed, and the test can detect as little as one viral particle per 1-microliter drop of fluid.


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Direct cloning method CAPTUREs novel microbial natural products

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Microorganisms possess natural product biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that may harbor unique bioactivities for use in drug development and agricultural applications. However, many uncharacterized microbial BGCs remain inaccessible. Researchers at Illinois previously demonstrated a technique using transcription factor decoys to activate large, silent BGCs in bacteria to aid in natural product discovery.


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Genome-editing tool TALEN outperforms CRISPR-Cas9 in tightly packed DNA

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Researchers used single-molecule imaging to compare the genome-editing tools CRISPR-Cas9 and TALEN. Their experiments revealed that TALEN is up to five times more efficient than CRISPR-Cas9 in parts of the genome, called heterochromatin, that are densely packed. Fragile X syndrome, sickle cell anemia, beta-thalassemia and other diseases are the result of genetic defects in the heterochromatin.


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