Bernhard O. Palsson, a professor of bioengineering and adjunct professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, ha...">
“My bioengineering colleagues and I at UCSD are delighted by the news of Bernhard's election to the National Academy,” said
The academy named Palsson and 75 additional new members and nine foreign associates on February 10, which brings the total number of academy members at UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering to 15, including two bioengineering professors in the past two years. The academy’s
In addition to authoring more than 200 scientific papers and giving more than 100 invited talks at conferences, Palsson has recently delivered keynote addresses and plenary talks at systems biology conferences in
Palsson also founded two San Diego startup companies, Genomatica, a computational systems biology company, and Cyntellect, a provider of high-throughput imaging and laser-based manipulation of living cells. In Michigan, he founded Aastrom Biosciences, Inc., a company specializing in the repair or regeneration of human tissues utilizing the company's proprietary adult stem cell technology.
Palsson’s research interests are wide-ranging, from the reconstruction of genome-scale biochemical reaction networks to genome-scale mathematical analysis techniques.
His most recently published paper in January in PLoS Computational Biology reported that the location of genes and other features distributed along the chromosomes of bacteria and simpler organisms is fundamentally important to how the microbial cells operate. “This high degree of organization of prokaryotic [organisms that lack nuclei] genomes is a complete surprise, and this finding carries many implications that biologists might not have considered before,” Palsson said.
A 2002 paper in Nature reported that a computer model of E. coli accurately predicted the endpoints of adaptive evolution. Palsson has continued to study this behavior by using computer modeling and DNA sequencing to elucidate underlying genetic mechanisms. A 2004 paper in Nature paper suggested 115 previously unknown mechanisms of genetic regulation. Together these two Nature papers suggest ways to design specific biological materials for commercial use and to predict the evolution of drug resistance in bacteria.
Palsson’s group has applied the analysis methods used in E. coli to the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, bacterial pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and Helicobacter pylori, and human cell types. Palsson is now developing a genome-scale reconstruction of the complete human metabolic network as a new tool to understand, classify, and treat human diseases.
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