(196b) Integration of Systems and Synthetic Biology for Metabolic Engineering
In honor of Dr. Lightfoot’s contributions to the field of biological engineering, the authors will describe how two emerging subdisciplines, systems biology and synthetic biology, can be integrated to engineer novel biological systems. Systems biology examines the complex network of metabolic, regulatory, and physical interactions that are responsible for maintaining life. Synthetic biology is the application of design principles and standardized assembly methods to the construction of novel biological systems from well characterized components. Both fields rely on contributions from experimental and computational methods. When linked together in a fashion analogous to the traditional engineering design process, these two fields can be used to construct and evaluate new cells and their ability to perform unique functions. Currently, the authors are applying these fields to the grand challenge of energy sustainability and specifically to understanding how metabolism can be engineered to convert sustainably generated substrates to organic molecules that can be combusted in traditional engines. In this short talk, the authors will describe recent computational and experimental applications of systems and synthetic biology to the design, construction, and evaluation of new biofuel producing microorganisms.