Pamela A. Silver

Pamela A. Silver

Elliot T. and Onie H. Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
Pamela Silver Photo

The Silver Lab seeks to enhance our understanding of natural biological design, and to develop tools and concepts for designing cells, tissues and organisms.

What can we build with biology? We use a synthetic biology approach to understanding biological systems through design, making new biological structures with proteins and nucleic acids, new genetic networks, and new metabolic pathways with applications in basic science, medicine, and the environment. Our designs derive from what we learn from systems biological analyses.  Current projects use mammalian cells, plants, simple eukaryotes and praryotes.  Understanding how to program cells in a rational way will have value, for example, in stem cell design, drug therapy and the environment.

Some primary project areas include:  Designing novel genetic pathways in mammalian cells, S. cerevisiae, and praryotes to probe basic cell biology, to better understand cancer initiation and progression, and to design potential diagnostics and therapeutics; and Engineering metabolism for sustainably by producing medicines, commodity chemicals, and fuels to understand and optimizing photosynthetic carbon fixation in cyanobacteria and plants and developing novel electrofuel producers.   Other projects include organization of interactions within and between cells with novel scaffolds.

In sum, we seek to predictably design biology to address pressing issues in health and sustainability using state of the art technologies. Students have the opportunity to contribute to many active projects in these areas and to develop their own related ideas in an exciting environment.

Selected Publications

Riglar, D.T., Giessen, T.W., Baym, M., Kerns, SJ., Niederhuber, MJ., Bronson, RT., Kotula, JW., Gerber, GK., Way, JC. and Silver, PA.* (2017) Long-term monitoring of inflammation in the mammalian gut using programmable commensal bacteria, Nat. Biotechnol., Jul;35(7):653-65

Liu C, Colon BC, Ziesak M, Silver PA*, Nocera DG* (2016) Water-splitting biosynthetic system with CO2 reduction efficiencies exceeding photosynthesis. Science 352:1210-3. PMID: 27256881

Delebecque CJ, Lindner AB, Silver PA* and Aldaye FA (2011). Organization of intracellular reactions with rationally designed RNA assemblies. Science. 333:470-4. PMID: 21700839.

Burrill DR, Inniss MC, Boyle PM and Silver PA. (2012). Synthetic memory circuits for tracking human cell fate. Genes Dev. Jul 1;26(13):1486-97

Burrill DR, Vernet A, Collins JJ, Silver PA*, Way JC. (2016). Targeted erythropoietin selectively stimulates red blood cell expansion in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 113:5245-50. PMID:27114509

Contact Information

Warren Alpert Building, Room 420
200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

Assistant: Brianna Millor-Hammond
Phone: 617 432-5041
p: 617 432-6401

Faculty Alphabetical