synthetic biology

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Tag archives for synthetic biology

Wireless Cellular Communication

Cells are constantly jibber jabbering, sending messages to each other to coordinate behavior, both within a population of single-celled organisms or between cells of an individual multicellular organism. Most of these signals are chemicals that float around in the liquid that surrounds the cells but there recently has been an increased appreciation for cells’ sense…

Cyborg Noses

A lot of synthetic biology is about getting biology to be more like electrical engineering, designing genetic “logic gates” to create a living circuit board. Beyond analogies, however, cells have many fascinating electrical properties–proteins that transfer electrons like wires, membranes that separate ions and create an electrical charge that drives the metabolism of the cell,…

Plant Transformation

Sometimes among all of the tedious protocols and mundane inconclusive data, I forget that I’m doing something amazing and incredibly powerful. Almost all my experiments require altering a living organism to do my bidding–to hold onto and replicate a piece of DNA that I’m interested in or to produce an enzyme that I want a…

Love of Legos

A recent survey of 3,000 people worldwide found what many have known all along–that Legos are the best toy ever made. For synthetic biologists, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise–Legos are at the heart of the concepts underlying the basics of synthetic biology. Legos are a favorite analogy for BioBricks, the DNA parts…

It turns out that my wonderful iGEM students, besides being brilliant scientists, are also excellent, hilarious actors. Please enjoy their Jersey Shore inspired video about molecular cloning:

Smellscape

My Synthetic Aesthetics partner, Sissel Tolaas, is featured in the terrific current issue of the German interview magazine mono.kultur. Her work focuses on smell, exploring the unique smellscapes of different cities, creating provocative scents to show in art galleries, branded “logo” scents for Adidas, “Swedish” scents for Ikea, and therapeutic memory-triggering scents, part of the…

Teaching Synthetic Biology

I recently found this fascinating (relatively) old review article (open access) by awesome MIT professor Natalie Kuldell about teaching synthetic biology. Synthetic biology has integrated teaching and learning with the development of the field since basically the beginning of the field, with students contributing to new technologies through iGEM and academic lab-based courses. By actively…

BioCouture

I don’t usually like to post links from BoingBoing because I imagine everyone has already seen this already, but as it is about some of my favorite things (synthetic biology, biomaterials, and fashion) I couldn’t resist! Designer Suzanne Lee makes clothes using cellulose-based fabrics made entirely by cultures of yeast and bacteria. From what I…

Synthetic Aesthetics

I am thrilled to announce that I will be one of the Synthetic Aesthetics residents this fall. Synthetic Aesthetics is a new program run through Stanford and the University of Edinburgh and funded by the National Science Foundation and the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council that asks the question “how would you design…

There’s a terrific new article about synthetic biology in SEED by James King, go check it out! Here’s a little taste: “Synthetic biology” is a catch-all label liberally applied to a host of methods for designing and constructing living things. Given the term’s multiple definitions, one of Synthia’s most immediately useful applications may be to…