Home / People / Faculty / Mario Andrea Marchisio

Mario Andrea Marchisio——Associate Professor

Building 24
School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology
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Education Experience
2007-2013 Postdoctoral Synthetic Biology ETH Zurich
2000-2002 Ph. D. Physics University of Trento (Italy)
1994-1999 M.S. Physics University of Eastern Piedmont (Italy)
Professional Experience
2003-2007 Analyst programmer CILEA (Italy)
2013-2018 Associate Professor in Synthetic Biology Harbin Institute of Technology
Research Area

Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology is referred to as Life Engineering since it aims at modifying cells with the insertion of DNA circuits that carry out new, specific tasks. Possible applications are diagnostics, cure of disease, biofuel production, and environmental care. Research in Synthetic Biology is both theoretical and applied. Circuits are first designed on the computer. They are associated with mathematical models such that simulations can drive their wet-lab implementation.

On the computational side I am working on the development of a stand-alone piece of software for the design of biosensors in living cells. Biosensors detect one or more chemicals (inputs) in the cellular environment and, as a response, trigger the production of a clear output signal (e.g. fluorescence) or the activation of a pathway that establishes an interaction between the cells and the sensed chemicals. For instance, if the input is a pollutant, a properly engineered biosensor could lead to the degradation of this harmful substance.

Biosensors designed on the computer are implemented in my lab into the yeast S. cerevisiae. Yeast is the simplest eukaryotic organism and, as such, a perfect candidate to develop theoretical models and build biosensors that might be used later into more complex hosts such as mammalian cells.

Overall, building genetic biosensors demands a proper characterization of its basic components (promoters, mRNAs, and terminators) and the optimization of mechanisms for the regulation, in yeast, of transcription and translation processes (e.g. CRISPR-Cas9, TAL effectors, riboswitches, PUF proteins). These are two important research directions in my Synthetic Biology lab.




Honors and Awards
Highlighted Publications
Nucleotides upstream of the Kozak sequence strongly influence gene expression in the yeast S. cerevisiae. J. Li, Q. Liang, W. Song, and M. A Marchisio. J. Biol. Eng., 11(1), 25 (2017). doi: 10.1186/s13036-017-0068-1
CRISPR-Cas type II-based Synthetic Biology applications in eukaryotic cells, M.A. Marchisio and Z. Huang, RNA Biology, 265(24), 1–8 (2017). doi: 10.1080/15476286.2017.1282024
Can terminators be used as insulator into yeast synthetic gene circuits? W. Song, J. Li, Q. Liang, and M. A. Marchisio, J. Biol. Eng., 10:19 (2016). doi: 10.1186/s13036-016-0040-5
In silico design and in vivo implementation of yeast gene Boolean gates, M. A. Marchisio, J. Biol. Eng., 8,6 (2014), doi:10.1186/1754-1611-8-6
Modular, rule-based modeling for the design of eukaryotic synthetic gene circuits, M.A. Marchisio, M. Colaiacovo, E. Whitehead, and J. Stelling. BMC Systems Biology 7, 42 (2013), doi: 10.1186/1752-0509-7-42
Automatic Design of Digital Synthetic Gene Circuits, M.A. Marchisio and J. Stelling, PLoS Comp. Biol. 7(2) (2011) doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1001083
Computational Design Tools for Synthetic Biology, M.A. Marchisio and J. Stelling, Curr. Op. Biotech. 20, 479-485 (2009), doi:10.1016/j.copbio.2009.08.007
Computational design of synthetic gene circuits with composable parts, M.A. Marchisio and J. Stelling, Bioinformatics 24(17):1903-1910 (2008), doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn330.
ResearcherID Publications
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