Computational Life Sciences and Synthetic Biology

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Computational Life Sciences and Synthetic Biology
Group leader
Specific themes and goals

The application of modern communication theory to predict thermostability of enzymes, and the rational redesign of therapeutically important biologics. For example, the design of a thermostable human interleukin 1 receptor antagonist. The analysis of infectious diseases emergence and epidemiology from a synthetic biology standpoint. For example, the investigation of the original outbreak and of superspreader events of COVID-19.

Highlights and impact
  • Discussed how the historically unprecedented COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign could be epidemiologically, pharmacologically and biologically understood and evaluated. This contribution reviewed the first mass vaccination campaign with the new type of synthetic nucleic acid and virus vector-based vaccines that took place in Europe (initially, the United Kingdom), beginning in December 2020 (see, reference 1 below).
  • Analyzed how short-term vaccine effectiveness (the potential to reduce disease outcome in the vaccinated population relative to the unvaccinated) could be measured for COVID-19 vaccines given that SARS-CoV-2 transmission is highly volatile and dominated by superspreader events (see, reference 2 below).
  • Asked how we can even begin to understand the risks and consequences of digitalization and automation that are both advancing and challenging our civilization (see also, Weser Kurier, Fortschritt braucht mehr als Technik (Progress is more than technological progress), 16 February 2021: Featured documentary and interview newspaper about my own research and teaching (global existential risks)).
  • Explored what type of global existential risks there are, and whether we have a sufficient level of understanding and control over the risks, such as genetic engineering, that lie before us in the 2020s (see, Le Monde, Origin of SARS-CoV-2: The search continues, 28 December 2022); and Weser Kurier, Menschheit am Scheideweg (Humanity at the crossroads), 7 June 2019: documentary and interview about my own research and teaching (synthetic biology, genetic engineering, pandemic risks, global existential risks)).
Selected publications
  • Lisewski AM. Effectiveness of England’s initial vaccine roll out. The British Medical Journal, 373:n1201, 13 May 2021. 
  • Lisewski AM. Interim estimates in null models of COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 106:169-170, 18 Mar 2021. 
  • Lisewski AM. Pre-pandemic artificial MERS analog of polyfunctional SARS-CoV-2 S1/S2 furin cleavage site domain is unique among betacoronaviruses Zenodo 26 December 2022 (under review at PNAS) 
  • Lisewski AM. Evidence for yeast artificial synthesis in SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 genomic sequences. f1000Research 2022, 10:912