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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Group develops gene circuit design strategy to advance synthetic biology

Over the last 17 years, scientists and engineers have developed synthetic gene circuits that can program the functionality, performance, and behavior of living cells. Analogous to integrated circuits that underlie myriad electronic products, engineered gene circuits can be used to generate defined dynamics, rewire endogenous networks, sense environmental stimuli, and produce valuable biomolecules.

These gene circuits hold great promise in medical and biotechnological applications, such as combating super bugs, producing advanced biofuels, and manufacturing functional materials.

Creating bio-machines to improve health

By studying the behavior of living cells and combining them with synthetic tissue, researchers are creating “biological machines” to deliver drugs more effectively, function as internal diagnostic tools, or serve as contaminant sensors in the field.

This work is facilitated by a multi-institution effort known as the Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems (EBICS), which recently received $25 million in National Science Foundation (NSF) renewal funding for the next five years to build living, multi-cellular machines to solve environmental, health, and security problems.

Illinois and AAAS Co-sponsor Bioengineering Panel

In biomedical engineering, experts see big research opportunities and some funding challenges. The interdisciplinary work necessary to develop biomedical engineering devices holds great potential for collaborative research, but challenges remain in making the technology available for public use. A panel consisting of Gene Robinson, John Rogers, Todd Coleman, and Rashid Bashir spoke of this and more at an event entitled "Visionary Frontiers at the Convergence of Biology, Medicine and Engineering" held in Washington, D.C.

Bioengineering announces first Founder Professor, Jun S. Song

Department of Bioengineering announces first Founder Professor, Jun S. Song

Bioengineering at Illinois is pleased to announce the department’s first Founder Professor, Jun S. Song.

Founder Professors are part of the Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative, which was established in the College of Engineering in 2013 to support big data and bioengineering through enhancing facilities, funding student scholarships, and bringing senior faculty to Illinois.

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