High-throughput synthetic biology approach to study human disease proteins in yeast

30. November 2023
12:00 til 13:00
Stofa 201

Title: High-throughput synthetic biology approach to study human disease proteins in yeast.

Speaker: Dr. Guðjón Ólafsson, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Eiríkur Steingrímsson, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland.

Short bio: Guðjón earned a BSc in Molecular Biology at Birkbeck, University of London in 2011. He worked as a research technician for two years at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) that later became part of the Francis Crick Institute, London, where he undertook a PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Thorpe. There he developed the Synthetic Physical Interaction (SPI) technology and used it to screen for regulators of chromosome segregation (in particular the kinetochore) and characterized their function in the eukaryotic model brewer´s yeast. After receiving the PhD degree from University College London in 2018, he continued working with Dr. Thorpe as a postdoctoral research assistant when the lab relocated to Queen Mary University of London. 

Guðjón relocated to New York in 2020 where he joined the laboratory of Professor Jef Boeke at the Institute for Systems Genetics, New York University, as a postdoctoral fellow. He worked on a project funded by National Science Foundation titled: ´The Rules of Life: Epigenetics – Reverse Engineering Human Epigenetic Machinery in Yeast´, which aims to decipher the complexity of human chromatin organization by rewriting the system in yeast using a progressive bottom-up approach. His contribution included the characterization of kinetochore mutants that facilitate histone humanization and humanizing the centromeric machinery in yeast, the work of which was recently published. 

After the birth of his son, Guðjón and his family decided to move back to Iceland in July 2023. His current project, funded by the Icelandic Research Fund (Rannís), in the laboratory of Professor Eiríkur Steingrímsson in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, aims to develop a functional assay for human disease-related proteins (EZH2, MITF, ATG7, and IRF4) in yeast.


In his talk, Guðjón will give insight into the SPI technique and discuss his findings of using synthetic and yeast humanization approaches to understand human disease proteins.

Dr. Guðjón Ólafsson