Modeling and Engineering Cellular Communities

Collins, C., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Microbial communities play critical roles in diverse natural processes associated with human health and the environment. Microbial communities in particular carry out complex tasks and often interact with and affect other microbes, host organisms (e.g., a human or plant), and the environment. With the rapid development of high throughput technologies (e.g., metagenomic sequencing) and related computational methods, the investigation of microbe-microbe, microbe-host, and microbe-environment interactions is defining new frontiers of systems and synthetic biology. These discoveries are leading to new opportunities for a range of biotechnological applications that focus on manipulating complex systems of microbes and their environment. This session will highlight systems and synthetic biology approaches for understanding and engineering microbial communities. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to "omics" based study of microbial communities; modeling of microbe-host interactions; metabolic modeling and of natural or engineered communities, synthetic systems of interacting microbes; and coordinating behaviors and ecologies in engineered microbial consortia. Subjects closely related to practical applications, including challenges related to the bioprocessing, the environment and human health, are especially of interest.



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