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SELECTBIO Conferences Lab-on-a-Chip European Congress


New Tools for Synthetic Biology

Gregory Timp, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Electrical Engineering & Systems Biology, The University of Notre Dame

Synthesis is a focus of 21st century biology—we are striving to harness the processes found in living cells for applications in medicine, sensing and computing.  To produce predictable functions, synthetic biology demands high precision tools capable of reprogramming a cell’s genetic code, controlling phenotype and manipulating a heterogeneous population of cells into three dimensional (3D), thick (>100 um) tissue. It is now possible to satisfy these specifications using elements borrowed from physical science and semiconductor nanotechnology. For example, the electric field in a nanometer-diameter pore in a nanometer-thick dielectric membrane, which has been used to unravel the structure of single molecules of DNA and protein, can also be used to transfect genes by electroporation into single cells with single molecule precision. Likewise, optical tweezers, which are customarily used to analyze the motion of single molecules, and manipulate organelles within a cell or even whole cells, can be deployed in arrays and used to position with submicron precision multiple cell types on a scaffold to create 3D heterogeneous tissue architectures with embedded capillaries that afford control over the micro-scale flow of nutrients and waste in thick tissue.  Tools like these, which offer unprecedented precision, promise a century of discovery.

Add to Calendar ▼2014-03-10 00:00:002014-03-11 00:00:00Europe/LondonLab-on-a-Chip European CongressLab-on-a-Chip European Congress in Berlin, Germany Berlin, Germany