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Eric Klavins

  • Professor

Appointments

Professor, Electrical Engineering
Adjunct Associate Professor, Bioengineering
Adjunct Associate Professor, Computer Science and Engineering

Biography

Eric Klavins is a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. He received a B.M. in Music in 1992 and a B.S. in computer science in 1996 from San Francisco State University. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science and engineering in 1999 and 2001 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. From 2001 to 2003 he was a postdoctoral scholar in the Control and Dynamical Systems Department at the California Institute of Technology where he worked with Richard Murray. In 2003 Eric was hired in Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle; he received tenure in 2009. He holds adjunct appointments in Computer Science and Engineering and in Bioengineering and is the Director for the UW Center for Synthetic Biology.

Until approximately 2008, Klavins’ research was primarily in computer science and control systems, focusing on stochastic processes, robotics and self-assembly. At about this time, he learned the basics of genetic engineering. In the next few years he switched fields to synthetic biology and now runs an interdisciplinary group of engineers, biologists, experimentalists, and theorists — all focused on engineering life. His current projects include synthetic multicellular systems with engineered bacteria and yeast, modeling and design for synthetic multicellular systems, and laboratory automation.

Research Interests

Synthetic biology.

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[caption id="attachment_11704" align="alignleft" width="162" class="left none "] David Younger[/caption] [caption id="attachment_11705" align="alignleft" width="154" class="left none "] Stephanie Berger[/caption] [caption id="attachment_11706" align="alignleft" width="158" class="left none "] David Baker[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2315" align="alignleft" width="181" class="left none "]Eric Klavins Eric Klavins[/caption]
When developing new drug treatments for disease, researchers look to yeast. With its rapid cell cycle and the ease with which its genes can be tweaked, yeast is a flexible tool used to test how a particular drug, chemical or enzyme affects unicellular organisms (e.g. bacteria). Like human cells, yeast has a eukaryotic structure (nucleus, cytoplasm and mitochondria). It also shares many genes with human cells; yeast cells can be used to investigate how a particular drug affects a certain human gene. Although it identifies whether a new drug binds to what it's supposed to, it does not offer insight into whether the drug binds to anything else in human cells. For example, researchers can screen a new cancer drug for potentially dangerous interactions (e.g. unexpected cell death) prior to clinical trials. However, they can only look at these off-target interactions one at a time. A new paper by University of Washington (UW) electrical engineers and biochemists retools yeast's mating habits, so researchers can test hundreds of drugs against thousands of potential targets. The paper, entitled "High-throughput characterization of protein-protein interactions by reprogramming yeast mating," identifies how researchers used flourescent genetic markers to track yeast's natural mating types and subsequently build new "sexes" for yeast to bind to. The blue and red fluorescent markers that dot the yeast's cell surface indicate whether the microorganism has been mated (purple) or unmated (blue and red). The team played around with numerous proteins and recorded their interactions. Through tracking the mating efficiency, researchers could tell how strongly any two protein molecules interact. They then built new sexes based on the strongest protein interactions. The team put the results to the test. For the emerging cancer drug XCD07, researchers were able to identify the versions of the drug that only bound to the intended target. The researchers' goal is to share the tool for large-scale scientific research. The team has given the engineered yeast strains to several institutions, including Yale University, Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). For lead author David Younger, a UW electrical engineering postdoctoral researcher, he wants the research to enable a “comprehensive preclinical drug screening, rather than the current practice of screening a very small subset of possible off-target interactions.” Additional authors on the paper include UW biochemistry postdoctoral fellow Stephanie Berger, UW biochemistry Professor David Baker and UW electrical engineering Professor Eric Klavins.

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More News:   [post_title] => Researchers reprogram yeast mating habits for the future of medicine [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => researchers-reprogram-yeast-mating-habits-for-the-future-of-medicine [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-03 16:25:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-03 23:25:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=11702 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11006 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2017-07-19 16:14:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-19 23:14:01 [post_content] => UW EE Professors Les Atlas, Karl Böhringer, Howard Chizeck, Blake Hannaford, Eric Klavins, Arka Majumdar, Shwetak Patel and Joshua Smith were awarded the 2017 Amazon Catalyst Fellowship.  In a partnership with the University of Washington, Amazon Catalyst supports bold solutions to world problems. The program provides funding, mentorship and community to the innovative projects. Congratulations to all newly-minted Amazon Catalyst Fellows! The Projects: simsong.org PI: Les Atlas Active self-cleaning technology for solar panels PI: Karl Böhringer Haptic Passwords PI: Howard Chizeck IRA, the robot surgical assistant PI: Blake Hannaford UW BIOFAB: A cloud laboratory for genetic engineering PI: Eric Klavins Smart Eyewear PI: Arka Majumdar OsteoApp PI: Shwetak Patel Enabling district shared parking via energy harvesting wireless sensing technology PI: Joshua Smith [post_title] => 8 faculty named 2017 Amazon Catalyst Fellows [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 8-faculty-named-2017-amazon-catalyst-fellows [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-21 13:33:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-21 20:33:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=11006 [menu_order] => 38 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10692 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2017-05-25 16:50:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-25 23:50:09 [post_content] => [post_title] => UW researchers build largest circuits to date in living eukaryotic cells [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => uw-researchers-build-largest-circuits-to-date-in-living-eukaryotic-cells [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-18 15:23:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-18 22:23:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=10692 [menu_order] => 58 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 9978 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2017-02-22 15:39:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-22 23:39:06 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_6828" align="alignleft" width="184"]Blake Hannaford Professor Blake Hannaford[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2315" align="alignleft" width="185"]Eric Klavins Professor Eric Klavins[/caption] UW EE Professors Blake Hannaford and Eric Klavins have joined a community of innovators – The Amazon Catalyst Fellows. In a partnership with the University of Washington, Amazon Catalyst supports bold solutions to world problems. Professor Blake Hannaford and his team at the UW BioRobotics Lab received the fellowship for the development of an Intelligent Robotic Assistant. The robot will offer precise and responsive assistance with important tasks in the operating room. It will be trained to the exact preferences of each surgeon, reducing errors and variability in precise and potentially dangerous operations such as brain tumor removal. The technology will be derived from Amazon’s Alexa and similar responsive speech recognition devices, as well as learning-based artificial intelligence (AI) in the cloud. The learning-based AI will be used to analyze patterns in surgical outcomes from detailed logs of the operations. Professor Eric Klavins became a fellow for his UW BIOFAB Cloud Laboratory for Genetic Engineering (UW BIOFAB), which allows users to define experimental workflows algorithmically, attach upstream design tools and send data to downstream analysis software. This process solves the issue of losing important experimental workflow and training data. With lost data of this type, many experiments cannot be reproduced, extended or transferred because the knowledge of how to do them has not been recorded in detail; this is especially problematic with synthetic biology. UW BIOFAB offers a lab in the cloud service. The key innovation is the use of researchers to perform many of the steps in the workflows. It is based on Klavins’ software, Aquarium, which will run it. Both Hannaford’s and Klavins’ projects have the potential to improve existing world challenges. By developing a robotic assistant, with the aptitude for precision and exact replication, the medical field can increase surgical accuracy during procedures, further expand trainings for medical personnel and improve knowledge on the potential for adverse and successful outcomes. UW BIOFAB empowers confident research, maintaining important steps and data for accurate experimental replication and design. By eliminating missteps and errors in workflow, biologists’ experiments will be strengthened, increasing the potential for health treatments and therapies. 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[caption id="attachment_11704" align="alignleft" width="162" class="left none "] David Younger[/caption] [caption id="attachment_11705" align="alignleft" width="154" class="left none "] Stephanie Berger[/caption] [caption id="attachment_11706" align="alignleft" width="158" class="left none "] David Baker[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2315" align="alignleft" width="181" class="left none "]Eric Klavins Eric Klavins[/caption]
When developing new drug treatments for disease, researchers look to yeast. With its rapid cell cycle and the ease with which its genes can be tweaked, yeast is a flexible tool used to test how a particular drug, chemical or enzyme affects unicellular organisms (e.g. bacteria). Like human cells, yeast has a eukaryotic structure (nucleus, cytoplasm and mitochondria). It also shares many genes with human cells; yeast cells can be used to investigate how a particular drug affects a certain human gene. Although it identifies whether a new drug binds to what it's supposed to, it does not offer insight into whether the drug binds to anything else in human cells. For example, researchers can screen a new cancer drug for potentially dangerous interactions (e.g. unexpected cell death) prior to clinical trials. However, they can only look at these off-target interactions one at a time. A new paper by University of Washington (UW) electrical engineers and biochemists retools yeast's mating habits, so researchers can test hundreds of drugs against thousands of potential targets. The paper, entitled "High-throughput characterization of protein-protein interactions by reprogramming yeast mating," identifies how researchers used flourescent genetic markers to track yeast's natural mating types and subsequently build new "sexes" for yeast to bind to. The blue and red fluorescent markers that dot the yeast's cell surface indicate whether the microorganism has been mated (purple) or unmated (blue and red). The team played around with numerous proteins and recorded their interactions. Through tracking the mating efficiency, researchers could tell how strongly any two protein molecules interact. They then built new sexes based on the strongest protein interactions. The team put the results to the test. For the emerging cancer drug XCD07, researchers were able to identify the versions of the drug that only bound to the intended target. The researchers' goal is to share the tool for large-scale scientific research. The team has given the engineered yeast strains to several institutions, including Yale University, Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). For lead author David Younger, a UW electrical engineering postdoctoral researcher, he wants the research to enable a “comprehensive preclinical drug screening, rather than the current practice of screening a very small subset of possible off-target interactions.” Additional authors on the paper include UW biochemistry postdoctoral fellow Stephanie Berger, UW biochemistry Professor David Baker and UW electrical engineering Professor Eric Klavins.

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More News:   [post_title] => Researchers reprogram yeast mating habits for the future of medicine [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => researchers-reprogram-yeast-mating-habits-for-the-future-of-medicine [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-03 16:25:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-03 23:25:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=11702 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11006 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2017-07-19 16:14:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-19 23:14:01 [post_content] => UW EE Professors Les Atlas, Karl Böhringer, Howard Chizeck, Blake Hannaford, Eric Klavins, Arka Majumdar, Shwetak Patel and Joshua Smith were awarded the 2017 Amazon Catalyst Fellowship.  In a partnership with the University of Washington, Amazon Catalyst supports bold solutions to world problems. The program provides funding, mentorship and community to the innovative projects. Congratulations to all newly-minted Amazon Catalyst Fellows! The Projects: simsong.org PI: Les Atlas Active self-cleaning technology for solar panels PI: Karl Böhringer Haptic Passwords PI: Howard Chizeck IRA, the robot surgical assistant PI: Blake Hannaford UW BIOFAB: A cloud laboratory for genetic engineering PI: Eric Klavins Smart Eyewear PI: Arka Majumdar OsteoApp PI: Shwetak Patel Enabling district shared parking via energy harvesting wireless sensing technology PI: Joshua Smith [post_title] => 8 faculty named 2017 Amazon Catalyst Fellows [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 8-faculty-named-2017-amazon-catalyst-fellows [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-21 13:33:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-21 20:33:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=11006 [menu_order] => 38 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10692 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2017-05-25 16:50:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-25 23:50:09 [post_content] => [post_title] => UW researchers build largest circuits to date in living eukaryotic cells [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => uw-researchers-build-largest-circuits-to-date-in-living-eukaryotic-cells [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-18 15:23:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-18 22:23:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=10692 [menu_order] => 58 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 9978 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2017-02-22 15:39:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-22 23:39:06 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_6828" align="alignleft" width="184"]Blake Hannaford Professor Blake Hannaford[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2315" align="alignleft" width="185"]Eric Klavins Professor Eric Klavins[/caption] UW EE Professors Blake Hannaford and Eric Klavins have joined a community of innovators – The Amazon Catalyst Fellows. In a partnership with the University of Washington, Amazon Catalyst supports bold solutions to world problems. Professor Blake Hannaford and his team at the UW BioRobotics Lab received the fellowship for the development of an Intelligent Robotic Assistant. The robot will offer precise and responsive assistance with important tasks in the operating room. It will be trained to the exact preferences of each surgeon, reducing errors and variability in precise and potentially dangerous operations such as brain tumor removal. The technology will be derived from Amazon’s Alexa and similar responsive speech recognition devices, as well as learning-based artificial intelligence (AI) in the cloud. The learning-based AI will be used to analyze patterns in surgical outcomes from detailed logs of the operations. Professor Eric Klavins became a fellow for his UW BIOFAB Cloud Laboratory for Genetic Engineering (UW BIOFAB), which allows users to define experimental workflows algorithmically, attach upstream design tools and send data to downstream analysis software. This process solves the issue of losing important experimental workflow and training data. With lost data of this type, many experiments cannot be reproduced, extended or transferred because the knowledge of how to do them has not been recorded in detail; this is especially problematic with synthetic biology. UW BIOFAB offers a lab in the cloud service. The key innovation is the use of researchers to perform many of the steps in the workflows. It is based on Klavins’ software, Aquarium, which will run it. Both Hannaford’s and Klavins’ projects have the potential to improve existing world challenges. By developing a robotic assistant, with the aptitude for precision and exact replication, the medical field can increase surgical accuracy during procedures, further expand trainings for medical personnel and improve knowledge on the potential for adverse and successful outcomes. UW BIOFAB empowers confident research, maintaining important steps and data for accurate experimental replication and design. By eliminating missteps and errors in workflow, biologists’ experiments will be strengthened, increasing the potential for health treatments and therapies. 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[caption id="attachment_11704" align="alignleft" width="162" class="left none "] David Younger[/caption] [caption id="attachment_11705" align="alignleft" width="154" class="left none "] Stephanie Berger[/caption] [caption id="attachment_11706" align="alignleft" width="158" class="left none "] David Baker[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2315" align="alignleft" width="181" class="left none "]Eric Klavins Eric Klavins[/caption]
When developing new drug treatments for disease, researchers look to yeast. With its rapid cell cycle and the ease with which its genes can be tweaked, yeast is a flexible tool used to test how a particular drug, chemical or enzyme affects unicellular organisms (e.g. bacteria). Like human cells, yeast has a eukaryotic structure (nucleus, cytoplasm and mitochondria). It also shares many genes with human cells; yeast cells can be used to investigate how a particular drug affects a certain human gene. Although it identifies whether a new drug binds to what it's supposed to, it does not offer insight into whether the drug binds to anything else in human cells. For example, researchers can screen a new cancer drug for potentially dangerous interactions (e.g. unexpected cell death) prior to clinical trials. However, they can only look at these off-target interactions one at a time. A new paper by University of Washington (UW) electrical engineers and biochemists retools yeast's mating habits, so researchers can test hundreds of drugs against thousands of potential targets. The paper, entitled "High-throughput characterization of protein-protein interactions by reprogramming yeast mating," identifies how researchers used flourescent genetic markers to track yeast's natural mating types and subsequently build new "sexes" for yeast to bind to. The blue and red fluorescent markers that dot the yeast's cell surface indicate whether the microorganism has been mated (purple) or unmated (blue and red). The team played around with numerous proteins and recorded their interactions. Through tracking the mating efficiency, researchers could tell how strongly any two protein molecules interact. They then built new sexes based on the strongest protein interactions. The team put the results to the test. For the emerging cancer drug XCD07, researchers were able to identify the versions of the drug that only bound to the intended target. The researchers' goal is to share the tool for large-scale scientific research. The team has given the engineered yeast strains to several institutions, including Yale University, Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). For lead author David Younger, a UW electrical engineering postdoctoral researcher, he wants the research to enable a “comprehensive preclinical drug screening, rather than the current practice of screening a very small subset of possible off-target interactions.” Additional authors on the paper include UW biochemistry postdoctoral fellow Stephanie Berger, UW biochemistry Professor David Baker and UW electrical engineering Professor Eric Klavins.

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Representative Publications

  • N. Napp, S.A. Burden, and E. Klavins. Setpoint regulation for stochastically interacting robots. Autonomous Robots 30:57–71, 2011.

Associated Labs

Research Areas

Affiliations

Innovation/Entrepreneurship

Education

  • Postdoctoral Scholar 2001-2003
    California Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, 2001
    University of Michigan
  • M.S. Electrical Engineering, 1998
    University of Michigan
  • BS 1996, BM 1992
    San Francisco State University