CEP: September 2016

This issue’s SBE supplement showcases recent advances in synthetic biology. The first two articles examine new additions to the synthetic biology toolbox — massively parallel DNA synthesis and CRISPR-Cas systems. The final article in the supplement describes how one company found commercial success by establishing an integrated computational and experimental bioengineering platform that harnesses the synthetic biology toolbox. Other topices in this issue include designing drug-delivery nanoparticles; minimizing biofouling of RO membranes; and ammonia production.

Editorial

Healthy Employees, Healthy Company

A new book featured in this month's Books department, The Healthy Workplace, caught my attention. Author Leigh Stringer notes that "leading companies and organizations are seeing immediate and long-lasting benefits from investing in the health and well-being of their employees. The most obvious benefits to the bottom line are the avoidance of health care costs, but companies that make investments in employee health are also seeing increases in creativity, engagement, and productivity, and as a result, business growth."

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Designing Drug-Delivery Nanoparticles

September
2016
On The Horizon
Aaron Anselmo, Samir Mitragotri
Nanoparticles for drug delivery can be better designed by modeling the body as unit processes connected by the vascular system. Each organ and organ function can be represented as a unit process on organ-on-a-chip devices.

Minimize Biofouling of RO Membranes

September
2016
Reactions and Separations
Anne Arza, Jane Kucera
Chemical and physical disinfection of feedwater to a reverse osmosis (RO) membrane helps to prevent fouling and maintain efficient operation.

Introduction to Ammonia Production

September
2016
Back To Basics
Venkat Pattabathula, Jim Richardson
Ammonia is critical in the manufacturing of fertilizers, and is one of the largest-volume synthetic chemicals produced in the world. This article explores the evolution of ammonia production and describes the current manufacturing technologies.

SBE Supplement: Synthetic Biology - SBE Update: The Expanding Synthetic Biology Toolbox

September
2016
SBE Special Section
Darlene Schuster
Synthetic biology is growing in both interest and impact. This developing field combines techniques from such disciplines as genetic engineering, molecular engineering, systems biology, and computer engineering. The scientists and engineers who work in this field design and construct novel biological entities (e.g., proteins, genetic circuits, metabolic pathways, etc.) and redesign existing biological systems.

SBE Supplement: Synthetic Biology - Rewriting DNA Synthesis

September
2016
SBE Special Section
Emily Leproust
Traditional methods of DNA synthesis are slow and costly, and hinder the design-build-test cycle for creating optimal gene sequences and protein variants. This article presents a novel approach that will allow researchers to explore synthetic biology’s full potential.
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