College of Biological Sciences
Synthetic minimal cells are programmable bioreactors with some, but not all, functions of live natural cells. Those designable biological systems allow investigation of natural biological processes, investigating genetic pathways on single-cell level, and modeling species and whole population level interactions. With synthetic cells, one can also engineer novel pathways and artificial biological systems, for biotechnology, basic science, space exploration, biosafety, and biomedical applications. This lab works on engineering synthetic cell systems to investigate complex natural processes in a defined, controlled system. They use synthetic cells to mimic natural biology, and to build new functionalities and novel biochemical parts, making tools for metabolic engineering, space biology, drug development, and biosensing.