I recently had the pleasure of meeting molecular biologist Stefan Moisyadi at one of
's ThinkTech meetings. During the meeting, and at lunch, we discussed topics ranging from mammalian transgenesis and microbubble drug delivery systems to the current political climate in Turkey and the proper way to make baklava. Every conversation with Dr. Moisyadi is an adventure. He is smart, opinionated, funny and always surprising.
The following week Mika and I had the opportunity to visit Stefan at the UH Manoa Institute for Biogenesis Research. Dr. Moisyadi's office is decorated with Fijian artifacts collected during the years he spent on the island chain. After sharing some amusing stories about Fiji, we were allowed a peek at the lab's famous glowing transgenic mice. These mice luminesce because a jellyfish "green gene" has been introduced into their DNA. All exposed areas of the mice glow. Their hair does not because only live cells luminesce.
There is no question that glowing mice have a 10/10 cool factor, but is there a point to this research? Absolutely. Moisyadi's team is working on a new, non-viral way of achieving site specific integration of DNA. This new technique, called active transgenesis, uses enzymes to insert DNA into genomes. Because active transgenesis provides improved targeting and is less disruptive than alternative methodologies, it facilitates more stable levels of protein expression and protects against integration of DNA into unwanted areas. This means a lower risk of disrupting genes essential to the fitness of the organism.
Why is this important? Professor Moisyadi puts it best, "Adding new genes to mice to create new experimental models, or to human tissues for gene therapy, is an important new technology that has evolved many different ways in the past 30 years. My research focuses on a new methodology that does not employ viruses, and has the potential for site-specific integration. This means that we can not only add new genes, but replace defective ones."
From Manoa BioSciences.com
Dr. Moisyadi is a molecular biologist at the UH and a developer of two novel transgenic techniques for gene therapy. He has over 20 years of experience in the field of genetics and has issued numerous publications. He has served as a speaker in several national and international symposiums. His recent research on the study of the ‘jumping’ gene was selected to compete in the 2007 Worlds Best Technology Showcase in Dallas, TX. Dr. Moisyadi will oversee the product development and research initiatives of MBI. He will also serve on MBI’s Board of Directors.
From the Institute for Biogenesis Research