Theses Doctoral

Engineering G-Protein Coupled Receptor-Based Living Yeast Diagnostics for Infectious Diseases

Rios, Davida Marie

Diagnostics serve as the frontline defense for the containment and mitigation of infectious diseases. The emerging synthetic biology field established numerous useful applications of engineered biological systems and networks that led to the development of living biosensors. Significant effort has been made to develop G-coupled protein receptor (GPCR)-based yeast biosensors for applications in drug discovery, environmental monitoring, and clinical diagnostics of small molecules and fungal pathogens. Of the living biosensor chassis, yeast-based biosensors offer exceptional advantages over other in vitro diagnostics, such as long-term storage in a reagent-free and dried dormant state, an engineered colorimetric readout for yes/no result interpretation, and high scalability through industrial fermentation. These advantages could be the next innovation as a low-cost, low-tech, and reliable diagnostic alternative in point-of-care and at-home contexts.

Chapter 1 provides background information related to synthetic biology, living biosensors, direction evolution, and point-of-care diagnostics. Chapter 2 covers the development of engineered living yeast as a diagnostic tool for viral infections by tailoring the biosensing recognition element to sense any amino acid-based biomarker of choice via directed evolution. Chapter 3 describes the development of living yeast biosensor for the detection of the pathogenic fungus, Aspergillus fumigatus, in clinical supernatants and patient samples. Chapter 4 describes the progression of a living yeast biosensor for the multi-drug resistant pathogenic fungus, Candida auris, and its detection in clinical culture supernatants and samples.


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2025-05-20.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Cornish, Virginia W.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 7, 2023