An online lecture by Professor of Medical Engineering & Science and Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT J.J. Collins, covering the topic of “Synthetic Biology: Life Redesigned”, was given on September 16 as part of the educational programme for Recycle Group`s exhibition New Nature.
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 synthetic probiotics to treat infections and a range of complex diseases. In this talk, we highlighted recent efforts to create synthetic gene networks and programmable cells, and discussed a variety of synthetic biology applications in biotechnology and biomedicine.
About the speaker: Jim Collins is the Termer Professor of Medical Engineering & Science and Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT, as well as a Member of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology Faculty. He is also a Core Founding Faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He is one of the founders of the field of synthetic biology, and his research group is currently focused on using synthetic biology to create next-generation diagnostics and therapeutics. Professor Collins' patented technologies have been licensed by over 25 biotech, pharma and medical devices companies, and he has co-founded a number of companies, including Synlogic, Senti Biosciences, Sherlock Biosciences and Cellarity, as well as Phare Bio, a non-profit focused on AI-driven antibiotic discovery. He has received numerous awards and honors, including a Rhodes Scholarship and a MacArthur "Genius" Award, and he is an elected member of all three national academies - the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.