Joshua N. Leonard Engineering cellular systems & biomolecules for immunotherapy, synthetic biology, & biotechnology

Research Interests

My research group works at the interface of systems biology and synthetic biology in order to probe and program the function of complex, multicellular systems to develop transformative biotechnologies and enable a new paradigm of design-driven medicine. Using the tools of synthetic biology, biomolecular engineering, computational systems biology, and gene therapy, we develop technologies including programmable cell-based “devices,” immune therapies for cancer and chronic disease, smart vaccines, biosensors for global health applications, and tools for advanced metabolic engineering. By bringing an engineering approach to the investigation, design, and construction of biological systems, the Leonard group is advancing the frontiers of design-driven medicine to address unmet medical needs and create safe, effective, and long-lasting treatment options that improve both quantity and quality of life.

Selected Publications

Computation-guided optimization of split protein systems. Dolberg TB, Meger AT, Boucher JD, Corcoran WK, Schauer EE, Prybutok AN, Raman S, and Leonard JN. Nature Chemical Biology. 2021 May;17(5):531-539.

Model-guided design of mammalian genetic programs. Muldoon JJ, Kandula V, Hong M, Donahue PS, Boucher JD, Bagheri N, and Leonard JN. Science Advances. 2021 February 19;7(8):eabe9375.

Macrophages employ quorum licensing to regulate collective activation. Muldoon JJ, Chuang Y, Bagheri N, and Leonard JN. Nature Communications. 2020 February 13;11:878.

The COMET toolkit for composing customizable genetic programs in mammalian cells. Donahue PS, Draut JW, Muldoon JJ, Edelstein HI, Bagheri N, and Leonard JN. Nature Communications. 2020 February 7;11:779.

Multiplexing Engineered Receptors for Multiparametric Evaluation of Environmental Ligands. Hartfield RM, Schwarz KA, Muldoon JJ, Bagheri N, and Leonard JN. ACS Synthetic Biology. 2017 November 17;6(11):2042-2055.

View all publications by Joshua N. Leonard listed in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed). Current and former IBiS students in blue.