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Illinois IGB

Huimin Zhao

15 Years of IGB: Accelerating biological engineering through automation and artificial intelligence

August 24, 2022

One of the biggest challenges in traditional laboratory settings is performing countless hours of error-prone lab work: handling reagents, incubating reactions or living cells, synthesizing products, applying treatments, and monitoring outcomes. The Illinois Biological Foundry for Advanced Biomanufacturing was established in 2014 to bypass these cumbersome procedures and support a broad array of research goals.


August 24, 2022


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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

May 16, 2022

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.

However, designing and constructing plasmids remains one of the most time-consuming and labor-intensive steps in biology research.


May 16, 2022


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Deep-learning algorithm aims to accelerate protein engineering

September 29, 2021

Proteins are the molecular machines of all living cells and have been exploited for use in many applications, including therapeutics and industrial catalysts. To overcome the limitations of naturally occurring proteins, protein engineering is used to improve protein characteristics such as stability and functionality. In a new study, researchers demonstrate a machine learning algorithm that accelerates the protein engineering process.


September 29, 2021


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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.


May 19, 2021


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Direct cloning method CAPTUREs novel microbial natural products

February 19, 2021

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.


February 19, 2021


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