Barr Lab

Research Areas

Bioengineering Phages

The study of bacteriophages has transformed biology over the last century. Phages helped to establish DNA as the genetic material of life, they provided the experimental tools for the molecular biology revolution, they are used to combat bacterial infections through phage therapy, and recently phage have progressed the field of genome editing following the discovery of CRISPR-Cas  – a defence mechanism used by bacteria to protect against phage infection. No other field of study offers the same potential to transform biology, as does phage biology.

Phages are remarkably modular particles capable of self-assembly. Our lab is using a range of genetic engineering approaches, including CRISPR-Cas9, to manipulate phages, their bacterial hosts and eukaryotic cells and systems. This includes the engineering of mucus-adherence domains from the bacteriophage adherence to mucus (BAM) model, phage structural domains to facilitate enhanced transcytosis and the delivery of recombinant DNA to eukaryotic cells.

Understanding these fundamental mechanisms may pave the way for the development of prospective biotechnologies.

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Monash University
School of Biological Sciences
Senior Zoology
Clayton VIC 3168

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