Maren C Eltze
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona, United States
Graduation date: Spring 2021
FURI | Summer 2020
Directed Evolution for Biological Sensors
Complex synthetic biology methods demand the integration of continuous culture, directed evolution, and positive/negative selection methods. To achieve this in a single platform, the research team built an open source multiplexed bioreactor (eVOLVER) and modified it to function as a directed evolution system. Modifications include a turbidostat, for continuous feed of bacteria into experiments, and a two-lagoon system, allowing for both positive and negative selection. The team has developed a theoretical system that is currently being implemented to create the physical system. Once established, this technology will be the basis for next generation biological sensors and bioactive proteins.
Mentor: Benjamin Bartelle
Sponsored project | Summer 2020
Maren Eltze was awarded a W. L. Gore & Associates sponsorship for her Fall 2020 FURI project. W. L. Gore & Associates is a uniquely creative, product leadership enterprise that has served a variety of global markets for 60 years, and provides innovative solutions that its associates stand behind. Gore established funds to support undergraduate students in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative program and values student-driven research and developing relationships with students in the program.
“Like everyone, my research program has been heavily impacted by COVID. I didn’t think I would make any progress at all, but Maren had the drive to adapt her project to the conditions. She obtained a Raspberry Pi developer kit and worked out the firmware and interface for our system from home while coordinating with a contractor to fabricate circuit boards for the device. The results of her summer research would be considered substantial even with full access to the lab. Control systems are not my area of expertise, demonstrating her independence and making her progress even more remarkable. We will soon be testing our automated bioreactor and the functioning prototype will be accessible to students for years to come thanks to Maren’s efforts.”
— Assistant Professor Benjamin Bartelle