Taraka Dale

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Research Focus

Taraka Dale is a Scientist and Principal Investigator in Bioscience Division at LANL. She is a biochemist, with expertise in the design and development of mid- to high throughput assays for applications ranging from nucleic acid:protein interactions to exploring algae and other microorganisms as platforms for making cost effective biofuels and bioproducts. In algae, Dr. Dale’s team is improving the productivity and environmental tolerance of microalgae strains, with an effort towards translating these results to outdoor cultivation. Within the Agile BioFoundry, Dr. Dale leads a team focused on the development and application of high throughput tools for optimizing metabolic flux towards new target molecules.

Projects in the Agile BioFoundry

  • Designing and validating custom transcription factor-based biosensors for the target molecules of interest. These intracellular biosensors link phenotype to genotype by correlating target titers to a fluorescent readout and allow us to rapidly monitor titer and productivity.
  • Furthering the development of custom RNA-based regulatory elements, riboregulators, that can be used to alter protein expression. We aim to use these elements to knock-down competing metabolic pathways and shift metabolic load between growth and target production.
  • Using gene regulation (such as in-cis or in-trans riboregulators) and enzyme activity mutants to generate libraries of cells with varied metabolic flux so that “winners” can be isolated using the custom biosensors.
  • Co-leading the identification and characterization of new potential host organisms for use in the ABF.

Featured Publications

Malathy Krishnamurthy, Scott P. Hennelly, Taraka Dale, Shawn R. Starkenburg, Ricardo Marti-Arbona, David T. Fox, Scott N. Twary, Karissa Y. Sanbonmatsu, Clifford J. Unkefer, “Tunable riboregulator switches for post-transcriptional control of gene expression”, ACS Synthetic Biology, 2015.

Lucas B. Harrington, Ramesh K. Jha, Theresa L. Kern, Emily N. Schmidt, Gustavo M. Canales, Kellan B. Finney, Andrew T. Koppisch, Charlie E.M. Strauss, David T. Fox, “Rapid Thermostabilization of Bacillus thuringiensis Serovar Konkukian 97–27 Dehydroshikimate Dehydratase through a Structure-Based Enzyme Design and Whole Cell Activity Assay”, ACS Synthetic Biology, 2016.

Ramesh K. Jha, Theresa L. Kern, Youngchang Kim, Christine Tesar, Robert Jedrzejczak, Andrzej Joachimiak, Charlie E.M. Strauss, “A microbial sensor for organophosphate hydrolysis exploiting an engineered specificity switch in a transcription factor”, Nucleic Acids Research, 2016.

Ramesh K. Jha, Subhendu Chakraborti, Theresa L. Kern, David T. Fox, Charlie E.M. Strauss, “Rosetta comparative modeling for library design: engineering alternative inducer specificity in a transcription factor” Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics, 2015.

Ramesh K. Jha, Theresa L. Kern, David T. Fox, Charlie E.M. Strauss, “Engineering an Acinetobacter regulon for biosensing and high-throughput enzyme screening in E. coli via flow cytometry”, Nucleic Acids Research, 2014.