Synthetic Biology

Engineering Principles in Synthetic Biology

Richard I Kitney

Imperial College, London, UK


Website: Imperial College

Speaker abstract

The generally accepted definition of synthetic biology is ‘synthetic biology aims to design and engineer biologically based parts, novel devices and systems - as well as redesigning existing, natural biological systems’. In practice synthetic biology utilises systematic design and involves the application of the design cycle - which comprises specifications, design, modelling, implementation, and testing and validation. What underlies this approach is the application of the engineering principles of modularity, characterisation and standardisation. The presentation will describe how these principles are applied in the context of synthetic biology being a translational field which transforms basic science into applications, and, ultimately, into products. Another aim of synthetic biology is to deskill the design process and to apply automation. In this regard an objective is to develop and deploy BioCAD tools which can be used for the high level design of gene circuits. A future step in this process will be to link the BioCAD software to laboratory robots for the purposes of assembly, characterisation, testing and validation. The overall aim of these developments is to standardise procedures and processes so that they can be implemented at multiple locations.

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