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SSPB Program
Rice University
6500 Main Street, MS-180
Houston, Texas 77030-1400

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Ph.D. Program in Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology
Suite 170 BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC)
Rice University
6500 Main Street
Houston, Texas 77005


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Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology Faculty in Rice Campus News

December 8, 2016
Study: Modularity affects human, single-celled migration

Rice scientists' study of human migration could help understand cancer metastasis
December 6, 2016
Scientists find persistent infections in mice exhaust progenitors of all blood cells; potential treatment possible

Baylor College of Medicine News 
December 6, 2016
Shelburne, Shamoo and Arias: We must be smarter about antibiotics use

(Houston Chronicle subscription required) 

November 18, 2016
'Freeze-frame' proteins show how cancer evolves

 freeze frame proteins
 Rice, Baylor researchers capture elusive clues about cells' path to cancer
November 17, 2016
Molecular imaging hack makes cameras 'faster'

imaging hack
Rice scientists' enhancement adds time element to super-resolution microscopy
November 2016
Is Your Cabbage Asleep?

Adventures in plant-based medicine 

October 31, 2016
Scientists develop computational tool to aid synthetic, systems biologists

October 28, 2016
For New York City rats, getting here is easy, surviving is tough

October 24, 2016
American Scientist Peter Wolynes Elected To Indian National Science Academy

 Peter W  
September/October 2016
Campus Spotlight - Rice University Finds a Natural Partner in Brazil

September 19, 2016
Scientists spot genes that make some sarcomas less aggressive


Rice, Duke team model
mechanism that could lead
to new approaches against

September 12, 2016
New tools join breast cancer fight


International team finds
existing drug may halt tumor
growth, points way toward
more effective treatments 

August 15, 2016
Nanoribbons in solutions mimic nature


Rice University scientists
test graphene ribbons' abilities
to integrate with biological systems

August 8, 2016
Rice introduces iBIO initiative


Scientists combine talents to promote,
commercialize advanced
biomanufacturing breakthroughs


August 4, 2016
Scientists have invented wireless 'neural dust' to monitor your brain

neural dust

Appearing in Science, Business Insider
August 3, 2016
Federal grant to Rice targets ovarian cancer

National Institutes of Health funds research of virus-delivered agents to kill diseased cells 
July 19, 2016
Gas sensors 'see' through soil to analyze microbial interactions


Rice University researchers have
developed gas biosensors to "see"
into soil and allowthem to follow
the behavior of the microbial
communities within.

July 12, 2016
Rice wins interdisciplinary 'big data' grant

rice grant 

Rice University has received
a $1.4 million grant from the
National Science Foundation
to bring together computer
science and statistics for the
greater benefit of data science. 

March 10, 2016
Unlocking the secrets of the brain's intelligence to develop smarter technologies (Baylor College of Medicine News)

Research on mouse's brain could lead to smarter machines (Houston Chronicle)

March 9, 2016
'Big Data' drills down into metabolic details (TMC News)
Bioengineers introduce CORDA algorithm to find new therapeutic targets for cancer (News Medical)


February 8 & 9, 2016
Neat Little Packages (ASME)
New strategies, tools for more accurate CRISPR-Cas9 based genome-editing (Dispatch Tribunal)
Rice lab offers new strategies, tools for genome editing (Science Codex)

Rice bioengineers study alternative
CRISPR-Cas9 systems for precision
genome editing, with a focus on
improving its accuracy and limiting
"off-target"errors. Similar articles
appeared in PhysOrg, Scicasts,Science
Daily, BioCompare, ScienceNewsline
and eScience News.



February 8 & 9, 2016
ONR Engineers Innovative Research in Synthetic Biology (SEAPOWER Magazine)
Engineers uncover magic of microbes for biofuels, threat detection (Intelligent Aerospace)

 Jeff Tabor, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, is mentioned for his recent Office of Naval Research-sponsored research.
February 1, 2016
Nanoparticles Forced to Clump Due to Lack of Proteins (Controlled Environments)

 Low concentrations of serum albumin proteins have
 the ability to bind one-to-one to gold nanoparticles
 and, upon unfolding, prompt them to aggregate,
 according to Rice scientists Stephan Link and
 Christy Landes. A similar article appeared in
 Photonics Online.

December 22, 2015
A New Twist in Genetic Switches (TMC News)
Gene Switch Controlled Kinetically, Not Thermodynamically (GEN)
genetic switch 

Rice University theorists reveal a
new mechanism of gene regulation


December 21, 2015
Aryeh Warmflash wins NSF Career Award

Rice University professor studies bottom-up embryonic development using human stem cells
December 7, 2015
Stained Glass Could Change Colors at Flip of a Switch

December 1, 2015
Red Means 'Go' to Therapeutic Viruses
(TMC News)
Scientists use light to switch viral activity and deliver cargoes to cells (Phys Org News)


This article also appeared in Science Codex, My Informs and e! Science News.
December 2015
Birth of the Bacterial Circuit


October 7, 2015
Chromatography Provides New Way to Peer into Pores


The paths fluorescent particles take as they diffuse
through a porous nanoscale structure reveal the
arrangement of the pores through a technique
developed by scientists at Rice University.
October 5, 2015
Project Aims to Help Brain Fix Itself

brain article

Rice University studies self-repair of neuronal networks in stroke, neurodegenerative disease 
September 2015
Researchers at Rice, UH use NIH exploratory grant to analyze bacterial decision making


Systems and synthetic biologists inspired by light-based synthetic gene platform 
September 29, 2015
Lydia Kavraki, Technical Leadership ABIE Award Winner

The Technical Leadership ABIE Award recognizes women technologists who demonstrate leadership through their contributions to technology and achievements in increasing the impact of women in technology.
September 28, 2015
Scientists decode structure at root of muscular disease

Ma lab article

Rice, Baylor College of Medicine team reveals mechanism of actin-binding protein
September 25, 2015
Deep-diving whales could hold answer for synthetic blood


Study shows how marine mammals pack muscle cells with oxygen-holding protein 

August 28, 2015
Modified bacteria work together in a living circuit
(Health & Medicine)
Modified bacteria become a multicellular circuit (Rice University News)
bacteria image 

July 9, 2015
Bacteria use DNA replication to time key decision

 bacteria dna replication




Rice study: Bacterial decision circuit makes use of circular chromosome

July 8, 2015
Hybrid cells cause chaos around cancers

hybrid cells 

Rice University researchers model cell signaling in blood vessels that feed tumors   
July 6, 2015
Gas sensors promise advances in Earth science

 gas sensors

Rice University awarded $1M grant from Keck Foundation to engineer microbial biosensors for soil 
May 26, 2015
DNA mutations get harder to hide

Rice University bioengineers develop accurate way to find single-nucleotide variants

April 20, 2015
New tactic targets brain tumors

 Rice University study suggests new drug strategy for insulin-influenced tumor growth
April 6, 2015
Cells exercise suboptimal strategy to survive



Rice University study shows it's not always good for cells' metabolism to work at peak efficiency 

February 23, 2015
Motor proteins prefer slow, steady movement

 Rice University researchers find motors collaborate to regulate cell-transport systems
February 2, 2015
Worms lead way to test nanoparticle toxicity


Rice University study validates low-cost, high-output technology
January 26, 2015
How cancer turns good cells to the dark side

jagged protein

Rice researchers find 'jagged' proteins key as tumors hijack cell-signaling process 

January 22, 2015
'Predicted' zeolites may fuel efficient processes


Rice, Minnesota scientists identify materials to aid ethanol, petroleum production
December 16, 2014
Big-data analysis reveals gene sharing in mice

genesharing mouse 

Rice University scientists find evidence of genes shared by two mouse species across Europe, Africa
November 21, 2014
Rice build on-ramp to cloud computing

'Cloud-bursting' system allows researchers to scale up quickly when needed
See full story here
November 11, 2014
Decoding the emergence of metastatic cancer stem cells


Rice-led research shows how migratory cancer cells acquire 'stem-like' properties

See full story here
November 7, 2014
New bioscientist bolsters Rice's cancer research


Aryeh Warmflash brings stem cell expertise to ovarian cancer research
See complete story here
September 2, 2014
Synthesis produces new antibiotic

Rice University scientists confirm potent synthesis of natural tetracycline
See complete story here.
September 2, 2014
NSF renews grant for biological physics research at Rice


$11.75 million in funding bolsters Center for Theoretical Biological Physics
See complete story here
August 1, 2014
New tools advance bio-logic

Rice, Kansas researchers build more sophisticated synthetic gene circuits
Click here for full story. 
July 31, 2014
Researchers uncover clues to flu's mechanisms

Rice, Baylor scientists analyze how influenza-related proteins help infect cells
Click here for full story. 
July 16, 2014
Cell membrane proteins give up their secrets

cell proteins 
Rice University researchers apply predictive powers to transmembrane protein folding
Click here for full story. 
June 26, 2014
Fish found common genetic ground to develop electric organs

Rice University biologist contributed to 'electrifying' science paper
Click here for full story. 
June 16, 2014
Many bodies prompt stem cells to change

Rice University scientists apply new theory to learn how and why cells differentiate
Click here for full story. 
May 6, 2014
Two-lock box delivers cancer therapy

lock box 
Rice University researchers find new possibilities for benign, 'tunable' virus
Click here for complete story.
April 8, 2014
Synthetic gene circuits pump up cell signals

Rice University research targets Parkinson's, Huntington's, other proteasomal diseases
Click here for complete story.

April 7, 2014
18 Rice students, 10 alums awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
Click here for full story!
 Joshua Tyler Atkinson, engineering, SSPB 

March 27, 2014
Cancer researchers find key protein link

protein link 
Discovery could lead to new medications, according to Rice University scientists (see complete story here)
March 9, 2014
Rice synthetic biologists shine light on genetic circuit analysis


Bioengineers invent 'light tube array,' 'bioscilloscope' to test, debut genetic circuits (see complete article here
November 13, 2013
New statistical tools being developed for mining cancer data

Team from Rice, BCM, UT Austin tackling big data variety (see article here)
November 7, 2013
Beyond Tolerance, Toward Peacebuilding
Scott Appleby
Defining religious tolerance was the central topic for the first event hosted by Rice's Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance since the institute was established in May. (see complete article here
October 17, 2013
Rice team rises to big-data breast cancer challenge

 Qutub bioengineering lab builds winning tool to visualize protein networks, treatments (see full article here)
September 30, 2013
Biochar quiets microbes, including some plant pathogens

Synthetic biologists at Rice probe biochar's impact on microbial signaling (see full article here)
September 3, 2013
Genomics legend foresees revolution in health care

 Hood talk 
Hood is first speaker in Bioengineering's systems biology lecture series. See entire article here
August 12, 2013
Rice writes rules for gene-therapy vectors

Researchers compute, then combine benign viruses to fight disease
See complete article here
As appearing in the Rice University Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations brochure:
OCFR SSB thumbnail

Lee Hood

August 29, 2013

The Jeffrey Michel Annual Innovations in Systems Biology Lectureship
Dr. Leroy Hood, President, Institute for Systems Biology
1:30-2:30pm, BioScience Research Collaborative Auditorium
(followed by a reception 2:30-3:30pm in the Auditorium Foyer)
More information can be found here.

 July 1, 2013
Wiggling worms make waves in gene pool
Rice U. lab analyzes mutants' movements to study gene networks - read more here!

April 4, 2013
Evolution in the Bacterial, Archaeal, and Jawed Vertebrate Immune Systems
Michael Deem spoke for The Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program at Ohio Wesleyan

Deem Iowa TalkMarch 6, 2013
Evolution in Immune Systems
Michael Deem's talk at Iowa State University. Click here for poster.
February 28, 2013
Modified bacteria turn waste into fat for fuel
Rice University process is part of USDA project to develop energy from biomass
"Green" chemistry developed at Rice University is at the center of a new government effort to turn plant waste into fatty acids, and then into fuel. (read more ...)
February 2013
Emergence of Modularity in Biology
Click here for a blog about Michael Deem's talk at MIT.
February 11, 2013cancer image
One-two punch strategy against bacteria and cancer
Combining synthetic, natural toxins could disarm cancer, drug-resistant bacteria
Cancer researchers from Rice University suggest that a new man-made drug that's already proven effective at killing cancer and drug-resistant bacteria could best deliver its knockout blow when used in combination with drugs made from naturally occuring toxins. (read more ...)
DeemTulsa2January 31, 2013
In Search of Fundamental Mathematical Laws of Biology
Michael Deem gave a lecture at Tulsa University for Phi Beta Kappa.
January 24, 2013
Cells 'flock' to heal wounds
Rice University-based team analyzes physics of epithelial cell cooperation
Like flocks of birds, cells coordinate their motions as they race to cover and ultimately heal wounds to the skin. How that happens is a little less of a mystery today. (read more ...)
resist moleculeJanuary 9, 2013
Drug resistance: 'Baby steps' can pay off big
Rice University scientists have found that mutations of small effect can turn out to be game changers in the bacterial fight against antibiotic drugs. (read more ...)
December 19, 2012
freshwater leechGenomic frontier: The unexplored animal kingdom
A new report in the journal Nature unveils three of the first genomes from a vast, understudied swath of the animal kingdom that includes as many as one-quarter of Earth's marine species. (read more ...)
SoybeanDecember 19, 2012
Soybeans a source of valuable chemical
Rice University scientists turn low-value soy mash into high-value succinic acid (read more ...)

December 18, 2012
Dunn Foundation awards bioscience grants
Work on a new type of patch for failing hearts is one of four research projects and a scientific conference that will be supported by the latest round of funding from the Dunn Foundation. (read more ...)
December 17, 2012
Rice University opens new window on Parkinson's disease
Scientists discover a new molecular probe to track aggregated fibroids inside living cells that cause Parkinson's disease. (read more ...)
parkinsons storyDecember 14, 2012
Rice opens new window on Parkinson's disease
Rice University scientists have discovered a new way to look inside living cells and see the insoluble fibrillar deposits associated with Parkinson's disease. (read more ...)
light story imageDecember 13, 2012
Rice uses light to remotely trigger biochemical reactions
Deep-sea microbes that thrive in high temperatures are key to light-activated catalysis. (read more ...)
November 29, 2012
Six Rice University professors elected to AAAS fellows
Carson, Ensor, Kavraki, Natelson, Phillips, Vannucci honored by scientific society (read more ...)
November 26, 2012
Deciphering bacterial doomsday decisions
Rice University-led study finds bacteria delay survival decisions (read more ...)
October 15, 2012
Lydia Kavraki elected to Institute of Medicine
Kavraki's Rice laboratory has pioneered computational analysis algorithms she expects will speed the delivery of drugs to  market. (read more ...)
Oleg MxanthusSeptember 27, 2012
Predatory bacterial crowdsourcing
Move forward. High-five your neighbor. Turn around. Repeat. That's the winning formula of one of the world's smallest predators, the soil bacteria Myxococcus xanthus, and a new study by scientists at Rice University and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School shows how M. xanthus uses the formula to spread, engulf and devour other bacteria. Click here to read more.

At left, M. xanthus cells self-organize into traveling waves when preying upon E. coli. At right, in areas without prey, M. xanthus self-organizes into haystack-shaped spore-filled structures.
September 19, 2012
SSPB Director, Michael Deem, on Hawaii Public Radio Show "The Conversation" - click here to listen.
Dr. Deem discusses his
research with University
of  Hawaii students
September 14, 2012
Rice announces new Ph.D. program
The new interdisciplinary program in Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology (SSPB) at Rice University has named its first director ... (read more)
September 2012LevineCyberImage
Experts propose 'cyber war' on cancer
Researchers at Rice, Tel Aviv and Johns Hopkins universities aim to break cancer's codes for social networking. (read more)
olegandrayAugust 30, 2012
Rice, MD Anderson scientists probe mystery of operon evolution
The threads of an evolutionary mystery that dates to the birth of molecular biology are beginning to unravel, thanks to a new investigation by computational bioengineers at Rice University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. (read more)

MD Anderson Cancer Center systems biologist Christian Ray (left) and Rice University bioengineer Oleg Igoshin.
August 14, 2012
MBennett ecoliRice to genes: Why the wait?
A Rice University researcher and his colleagues have received a National Institutes of Health grant to study how delays in gene transcription - life's most basic messaging system - affect cellular processes. (read more)
July 19, 2012
Rice receives $1 million INSPIRE award from NSF
A $1 million INSPIRE award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to Rice University will fund research on how bacterial decision-making occurs at the molecular level. (read more)
onuchicproteinJune 12, 2012
Protein residues kiss, don't tell
José Onuchic has become an expert at connecting the dots, but finding connections merely implied by the dots ... well, that's quite a trick. (read more)
May 31, 2012qutub leukemia image
Protein pathways provide clues in leukemia research
Scientists at Rice University and the University of Texas
MD Anderson Cancer Center have successfully profiled protein
pathways found to be distinctive to leukemia patients with
particular variants of the disease. (read more)
jeff tMay 23, 2012
Rice engineers awarded DOD grants
Rice University scientists are set to lead one research team and are part of a second among the 23 awards announced by the Department of Defense (DOD) under its Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program. (read more)
For earlier news stories, click here.