BME Seminar Series: Redox-based synthetic biology–towards electrogenetics
December 3 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
William E. Bentley, Ph.D.; Robert E. Fischell Distinguished Chair of Engineering, Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland
We are developing tools of “electrobiofabrication” that enable facile assembly of biological components within devices, including microelectronic devices, that preserve their native biological function. By recognizing that biological redox active molecules are a biological equivalent of an electron-carrying wire, we have developed biological surrogates for electronic devices, including a biological redox capacitor that enable bi-directional “electron” flow. We have also turned to synthetic biology to provide a means to sample, interpret and report on biological information contained in molecular communications circuitry. Finally, we have developed synthetic genetic circuits that enable electronic actuation of gene expression. That is, using simple reconstructions, one can apply voltage on an electrode and directly actuate genetic responses and associated phenotypes. This presentation will introduce the concepts of molecular communication that are enabled by integrating relatively simple concepts in synthetic biology with biofabrication. Our presentation will show how engineered cells represent a versatile means for mediating the molecular “signatures” commonly found in complex environments, or in other words, they are conveyors of molecular communication.