Advances in our understanding of biology—in particular how living cells function—have enabled us to recruit different types of cells for production of new medicines, new materials, new food ingredients, and even biofuels. This field is referred to as synthetic biology.
The roots of synthetic biology were laid in the mid-seventies, with the first molecular cloning and amplification of DNA in a plasmid, known as recombinant DNA. In 2010 researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute created the first synthetic cell, and in 2012 the introduction of CRISPR-Cas technology enabled faster engineering of biology. Microorganisms mimic “factories” capable of transforming sugars into bio-products useful for construction, wearable garments, fuels, and medicines.
Synthetic biology is already being used in manufacturing, such as the creation of synthetic fragrances to replace the use of rare plants in the perfume industry. Engineered gut E. coli generate useful chemicals and antibiotics, while blue-green algae convert captured carbon into biofuels or bioplastics. Scientists are working on similar innovations, such as diagnosing and treating diseases internally with a living system such as pluripotent stem cells.
In this webinar, the panelists will discuss the promises and pitfalls of synthetic biology and how it can be used to improve human health.
During the webinar, the speakers will:
Describe the evolution of synthetic biology in medicine and where the field is headed
Offer insights into how clinical and basic researchers can incorporate synthetic biology into their own studies
Answer your questions during the live broadcast.