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Josh Epstein

Drew Endy

Drew Endy
Title: Engineering Biological Systems

Abstract: Biology is going through a fundamental transition – from preexisting, natural, and evolving systems, to synthetic, engineered, and disposable systems. Here, I will discuss (i) our ‘refactoring’ of a natural biological system, bacteriophage T7, (ii) the adaptation and application of three past lessons – standardization, abstraction, and decoupling – that seem relevant to the engineering of biology today, (iii) how solving the problems of error detection and correction in reproducing machines might lead to interesting compromises in system architecture, and (iv) some of the social, political, and risk opportunities and pitfalls worth considering as we begin to systematically engineer the living world.

Bio: Drew Endy ( studied civil, environmental, and biochemical engineering at Lehigh University and Thayer School, Dartmouth College. From 1998 through 2001 he helped to start the Molecular Sciences Institute, an independent not-for-profit biological research lab in Berkeley, CA. In 2002, he started a group as a fellow in the Department of Biology and the Biological Engineering Division at MIT; he joined the MIT faculty in 2004. Endy co-founded the MIT Synthetic Biology working group and the Registry of Standard Biological Parts, and organized the First International Conference on Synthetic Biology. Endy and colleagues taught the 2003 and 2004 MIT Synthetic Biology labs organized the 2004 Synthetic Biology competition, a five-school course that enabled students to work together to design and build engineered biological systems, and are now organizing the 2005 Intercollegiate Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition. Endy's research focuses on the engineering of integrated biological systems and error detection in reproducing machines.

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