Bookmark and ShareShare

Living Cellular Devices

Wyss Institute scientists discuss the collaborative environment and team effort that led to two breakthroughs in synthetic biology that can either stand alone as distinct advances – or combine forces to create truly tantalizing potentials in diagnostics and gene therapies. Learn more...

Biology is enriched with an incredible molecular diversity of sensors and regulators that enable organisms to dynamically monitor and respond to their environment. Drawing on this diversity, the Living Cellular Devices platform is working to incorporate such elements into synthetic gene networks creating programmable cells for a variety of biomedical applications. Further leveraging our ability to engineer complex gene circuits, cellular devices and programmable cells from well-characterized, modular "bio-parts", we envision a future where electronic devices would be replaced with synthetic components for sensing, computation, and therapeutic intervention modeled after biological structures found in cells and organ systems. These systems would operate at the cellular level, communicating to fight disease or repair malfunctioning tissues in patients with genetic disorders, or to produce therapeutic proteins or molecules of interest.

Specific efforts within the Living Cellular Devices platform include creating engineered microbes to detect and treat bacterial infections while enhancing our understanding of drug resistance, diagnosing and treating microbiome-related conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, and to monitor and re-engineer the gut microbiome. The platform is also building upon its earlier efforts on paper-based synthetic gene circuits, utilizing the technology to develop rapid, inexpensive diagnostic tests for viruses.

Lead Projects and Technologies

Evolving Therapeutics Evolving Therapeutics
Engineering therapeutics that evolve and transmit to autonomously control epidemics
Antibiotic Improving Antibiotic Effectiveness
Understanding infections, antibiotic-target interactions, and developing therapies
Epipen Project ABBIE
Early detection and prevention of anaphylaxis
Paper Based Synthetic Gene Networks Paper Based Synthetic Gene Networks
Developing living molecular factories for the production of drugs, biofuels and green chemistry
Synthetic Vesicles Synthetic Vesicles as Programmable Cellular Devices
Developing methods to engineer synthetic vesicles


Note that the Wyss Institute’s Living Cellular Devices platform was recently renamed from Anticipatory Medical & Cellular Devices. For reference to previous work and translation efforts of the platform, please click here.

We've won a Webby Award!

Wyss Institute is proud to announce our win in the 2012
Webby Awards in the Science category.