JCVI: About / Bios / Sanjay Vashee
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Sanjay Vashee, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Research Interests and Accomplishments

Sanjay Vashee joined the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, MD in 2003 as an Associate Professor in the Synthetic Biology Group headed by Hamilton Smith. He helped the Synthetic Biology Group develop methods and synthetic genomics technologies that led to the creation of a synthetic organism based on Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies capri. His research interests are using the synthetic genomics technologies to better understand human and animal diseases as well as develop vaccines for them.

Currently, Dr. Vashee is the Principal Investigator on a project funded by the NSF under the BREAD program to develop a more effective vaccine for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), an economically very important cattle disease that affects much of Africa, restricting trade and limiting the availability of protein sources for nutrition. He and his colleagues at INRA, France and ILRI, Kenya are adapting the JCVI synthetic genomics technology to allow genetic manipulation of the CBPP pathogen, M. mycoides subspecies mycoides, expanding the mycoplasma genetic toolbox and using the latest genome sequencing platforms to identify virulence factors.  Together, these advances should help develop a more effective and safe vaccine based upon a rationally designed attenuated strain. Dr. Vashee is also involved with researchers at Tomegavax and Synthetic Genomics Vaccines, Inc. on an NIH funded STTR project to develop a synthetic human cytomegalovirus vaccine.

Prior to joining JCVI, Dr. Vashee was a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University-School of Medicine where he was the first to characterize the in vitro DNA-binding properties of the human origin recognition complex, the initiator protein of eukaryotic DNA replication. Dr. Vashee holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master's degree in Chemistry from Western Illinois University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin.

Select Publications

Montague MG, Lartigue C, et al.
Synthetic Genomics: Potential and Limitations.

Current Opinion In Biotechnology. 2012 Oct 01; 23: 659-65.[more]

Algire MA, Montague MG, et al.
A Type III Restriction-modification System In Mycoplasma mycoides Subsp. Capri.

Open biology. 2012 Oct 01; 2: 120115.[more]

Vashee, S, Algire, MA, et al.
Synthetic Biology: Implications and Uses

2012 Jul 01; 1: 653-684.[more]

Gibson, D. G., Glass, J. I., et al.
Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome

Science. 2010 Jul 02; 329(5987): 52-6.[more]

Benders, G. A., Noskov, V. N., et al.
Cloning Whole Bacterial Genomes In Yeast

Nucleic Acids Res. 2010 Mar 07; 38(8): 2558-69.[more]

Montague, M., Barnes, C., et al.
The Evolution of RecD Outside of the RecBCD Complex

J Mol Evol. 2009 Oct 20;[more]

Lartigue, C., Vashee, S., et al.
Creating Bacterial Strains from Genomes That Have Been Cloned and Engineered In Yeast

Science. 2009 Aug 20;[more]

Vashee, S., Cvetic, C., et al.
Sequence-independent DNA Binding and Replication Initiation by the Human Origin Recognition Complex

Genes Dev. 2003 Aug 01; 17(15): 1894-908.[more]

Vashee, S., Simancek, P., et al.
Assembly of the Human Origin Recognition Complex

J Biol Chem. 2001 Jul 13; 276(28): 26666-73.[more]

Vashee, S., Willie, J., et al.
Synergistic Activation of Transcription by Physiologically Unrelated Transcription Factors Through Cooperative DNA-binding

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1998 Jun 18; 247(2): 530-5.[more]

Vashee, S., Melcher, K., et al.
Evidence for Two Modes of Cooperative DNA Binding In Vivo That Do Not Involve Direct Protein-protein Interactions

Curr Biol. 1998 Apr 09; 8(8): 452-8.[more]

Vashee, S., Kodadek, T.
The Activation Domain of GAL4 Protein Mediates Cooperative Promoter Binding With General Transcription Factors In Vivo

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Nov 07; 92(23): 10683-7.[more]

Vashee, S., Xu, H., et al.
How Do "Zn2 Cys6" Proteins Distinguish Between Similar Upstream Activation Sites? Comparison of the DNA-binding Specificity of the GAL4 Protein In Vitro and In Vivo

J Biol Chem. 1993 Nov 25; 268(33): 24699-706.[more]