Robert Britton Lab

Synthetic Biology in the Britton Lab


The ability to engineer synthetic genetic circuits in microorganisms has opened up new opportunities to use engineered microbes to diagnose and treat disease. We are using multiple platforms to sense intestinal inflammation in the human gut and secrete therapeutic proteins to prevent and treat a variety of human diseases. We are working on a non-invasive biosensor to non-invasively detect intestinal inflammation with the ultimate goal of providing an at home solution for patients to monitor gut health.  We are also working on multiple therapeutic targets for gut-directed expression to treat rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and radiation induced intestinal injury.


Selected Publications


Wang Y, Zhu D, Ortiz-Velez LC, Perry JL, Pennington MW, Hyser JM, Britton RA, Beeton C. A bioengineered probiotic for the oral delivery of a peptide Kv1.3 channel blocker to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jan 10;120(2):e2211977120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2211977120.

Ortiz-Velez L, Goodwin A, Schaefer L, Britton RA. Challenges and Pitfalls in the Engineering of Human Interleukin 22 (hIL-22) Secreting Lactobacillus reuteri. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2020;8:543. Published 2020 Jun 5. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2020.00543

Daeffler KN, Galley JD, Sheth RU, Ortiz-Velez LC, Bibb CO, Shroyer NF, Britton RA, Tabor JJ. (2017). Engineering bacterial thiosulfate and tetrathionate sensors for detecting gut inflammation. Mol Syst Biol. 2017 Apr 3;13(4):923. doi: 10.15252/msb.20167416

van Pijkeren JP, Britton RA. (2014). Precision genome engineering in lactic acid bacteria. Microb Cell Fact. 2014 Aug 29;13 Suppl 1:S10. doi: 10.1186/1475-2859-13-S1-S10. Epub 2014 Aug 29.

van Pijkeren, JP and Britton RA. (2012). High-efficiency recombineering in lactic acid bacteria. Nucleic Acids Research. May;40(10):e76. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks1472012 Feb 10. [Epub ahead of print]