Certain techniques of molecular evolution—the generation and selection of functional molecules using biological mechanisms “in the test tube”—are well established, but still only used by laboratories expert in the art. Principal examples include directed evolution, SELEX, and yeast, bacterial, and phage surface display selection methods. These techniques provide access to peptides and polynucleotides with an enormous range of properties. Many labs at Tech (and everywhere else) often want to gain access to these tools, but make do without them because it is too difficult and time-consuming to get started.

The Molecular Evolution Core Facility is housed in two convenient locations for researchers across the biotechnology campus at Georgia Tech. One is an 800-sq.-ft. suite on the second floor of the Krone Engineered Biosystems Building and another is a multi-functional lab on the third floor of the Petit H. Parker Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience building. The purpose of the facility is to provide routine access to molecular evolution methods and serve as a force-multiplier for any laboratory at Tech and beyond that is in search of new molecular catalysts or molecular binders.

The facility is currently capable of making DNA/RNA libraries and performing phage, bacterial, and yeast displays. Additional services include custom cloning, oligonucleotide synthesis, Sanger, and next-generation sequencing. Students and postdocs at Tech also have an opportunity to be trained in cutting-edge methodologies to either take the methods back to their home groups or be engaged in longer-term collaborations.

The facility includes all equipment necessary for semi-automated production and characterization of DNA libraries, cell transformation, growth, and binding analysis and also provides “in house” generated products.