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2014 Pritzker Distinguished Lecturer James J. Collins

Life Redesigned: The Emergence of Synthetic Biology

James J. CollinsHoward Hughes Medical Institute
Department of Biomedical Engineering and Center of Synthetic Biology, Boston University
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University

Synthetic biology is bringing together engineers, physicists, and biologists to model, design, and construct biological circuits out of proteins, genes, and other bits of DNA, and to use these circuits to rewire and reprogram organisms. These re-engineered organisms are going to change our lives in the coming years, leading to cheaper drugs, rapid diagnostic tests, and targeted therapies to attack “superbugs.” In this talk, Collins highlighted recent efforts to create synthetic gene networks and programmable cells, and discussed a variety of synthetic biology applications in biocomputing, biotechnology, and biomedicine.