Thank you Johns Hopkins University: Dr. Tara Deans Joins
the Department of Bioengineering
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Dr. Tara Deans joined the department as an Assistant Professor this month. She brings cutting edge research in synthetic biology, along with exciting new approaches to cell therapies to the department's scope of work. The Deans Laboratory for Applied Synthetic Biology will focus on developing new technologies to tightly control gene expression in mammalian cells. Applications of these technologies include engineering cells as therapeutic entities, using engineered cells to manipulate the extracellular matrix to support differentiating stem cells and engineering biologically inspired microenvironments to better understand the cellular mechanisms in both healthy and diseased tissue.

Dr. Deans received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering working with Jim Collins at Boston University. Her doctoral work included engineering a tunable genetic switch that functions as a rheostat to tightly regulate gene expression levels in mammalian cells. Toward the end of her PhD program, Dr. Deans developed a strong interest in applying synthetic biology for therapeutic applications. Dr. Deans worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Jennifer Elisseeff in the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at Johns Hopkins University. While at Hopkins, Dr. Deans combined synthetic biology and materials science to control genetic circuits in in vitro and in vivo settings.

Dr. Deans has received multiple awards for her work as well as a patent for her genetic switch. She was a finalist for the Collegiate Inventors Competition and she received a TEDCO Maryland Stem Cell award in support of her work as a postdoctoral fellow. "We are very excited to have Dr. Deans as a new professor," said Patrick A. Tresco, department chair, "her synthetic biology work is unique and will bring a new dimension to our research portfolio and curriculum."