Andy Ellington

Ellington, Andy
Professor in Chemistry & Biochemistry
Wilson M. and Kathryn Fraser Research Professor In Biochemistry



Main Office: MBB 3.448B
Phone: 232-3424

Alternate Office: MBB 3.424
Phone: 471-6445

Mailing Address:
The University of Texas at Austin - ICMB
2500 Speedway
MBB 3.448BA
Austin, TX 78712-1095

Graduate Students:

  • Deschner, Ryan
  • Ellefson, Jared
  • Enyeart, Peter
  • Jiang, Yu
  • Kluwe, Christien
  • Lu, Wei-Cheng
  • Maranhao, Andre
  • Meyer, Adam
  • Tack, Drew
  • Wang, Bo
  • Post Doc Students:

  • Allen, Peter
  • Hughes, Randall
  • Jung, Cheulhee
  • Li, Bingling

  • Research Summary:
       The Ellington Lab is a biotechnology lab that engineers nucleic acids and proteins for biomedical and other applications. Nucleic acid biosensors (aptamers, ribozymes) and nucleic acid circuits (DNA computers) are being harnessed to diagnostic applications, especially for point-of-care diagnostics in resource-poor settings and for facile tumor detection. With our collaborators, we are developing analytical methods that apply to devices as simple as dipsticks and as complex as CMOS. Our protein engineering efforts focus on platform technologies for engineering and evolving enzymes involved in replication, transcription, and translation, and there are long-term efforts to expand the genetic code with nucleobase amino acids, so that proteins can more readily talk back to DNA and RNA. In collaboration with George Georgiou we adapt protein engineering techniques to generating therapeutic antibodies and immunoprofiling via NextGen sequencing and proteomics. The two arms of the lab come together in attempts to develop novel operating systems for organisms, based on the programmability of nucleic acid conformers. This has led to interesting applications in which decisions at the nanoscale are observed as macroscale patterns, horizontal transfer has been engineered, and synthetic biology has been reduced to an engineering discipline rather than a buzz word.
    Research Images:

    Dr. Ellington's light induced Bacterial Photograph - Based on research published in Nature (Bacterial Photography: Engineering E. coli to see light; 438(7067):441-2) from Anselm Levskaya, Aaron A. Chevalier, Jeffrey J. Tabor, Zachary Booth Simpson, Laura A. Lavery, Matthew Levy, Eric A. Davidson, Alexander Scouras, Andrew D. Ellington, Edward M. Marcotte and Christopher A. Voigt.

    Up Close

    Residue-specific incorporation of unnatural amino acids into proteins in vitro and in vivo (2013) Methods Mol Biol. 978, 93-114.
    Stacking nonenzymatic circuits for high signal gain (2013) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110(14), 5386-91.
    Real-time detection of isothermal amplification reactions with thermostable catalytic hairpin assembly (2013) J Am Chem Soc. 135(20), 7430-3.
    An in vitro autogene (2012) ACS Synth Biol. 1(5), 190-6.
    Rational, modular adaptation of enzyme-free DNA circuits to multiple detection methods. (2011) Nucleic Acids Res. 39(16), e110.

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