Yamal Alramahi

I have been always interested in Life Sciences so I graduated in Biology in the itinerary of Genetics and Cell Biology. My first research experience in Microbiology was in the field of applied Metagenomics. After that, I gained interest in deciphering the complexity of life and in finding ways to create and optimize new tools based on Biotechnology. After finishing my work in Protein Engineering for my PhD, I joined Víctor´s laboratory where I am enjoying the art of creating new things by following the hierarchy of Parts, Devices, Modules and Systems.

I am interested in creating genetic diversity-generating devices that can work as biological modules that allow the random diversification of specific sequences in vivo. The key is that this mechanism of mutagenesis should be directed only to the target sequence of interest, avoiding accumulation of undesired mutations in the host chromosome. Since this devices will work in vivo, In optimal conditions this will allow to accomplish multiple consecutive rounds of mutagenesis with a minimal external intervention.

We plan to incorporate this genetic diversity-generating device as part of an engineered bacterial system that mimics the animal lymphoid tissue in its ability to react to antigens and to produce antibodies. We will recreate the major steps involved in the genesis of affibodies by use of functionally equivalent components assembled with known prokaryotic parts. We are modifying bacteria to run a program that starts with cells contacting an antigen and ends with the production of a very specific antibody. As an example application, recombinant antibody production will be dramatically simplified by use of this artificial immune system (ARISYS).

Application of ARISYS bacteria. Only those clones that specifically attach to an antigen of interest are selected from a library of cells expressing affibodies. Then the genetic diversity-generating device is turned on, in order to generate a new library and the enrichment with clones expressing affibodies with improved affinity.