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From Living Cells to Artificial Cells and Back Again

Wyss EventLecture

The advent of synthetic biology has led to elegantly designed cells that perform logical calculation, pattern formation, oscillations, and bistable decision making. Please join Dr. Cheemeng Tan as he discusses the process of leveraging the foundational technology in synthetic biology, to engineer artificial cells from the bottom-up to mimic key features of living cells, including membranes, molecular transport, gene expression, and cell-cell communication. These artificial cells are dynamic, bio-mimetic materials that operate autonomously by sensing and adapting to their surrounding environment. Due to the minimality of the artificial cells, they behave more predictably in varying environmental conditions and have less risk for biocontamination in the biosphere than engineered living cells.

Dr. Tan will discuss his team’s efforts to understand, create, and assemble parts that compose the artificial cells. In addition, he will illustrate recent applications of artificial cells as biosensors and therapeutic devices. Dr. Tan’s work establishes the foundation towards broad applications of artificial cells in molecular engineering and therapeutic treatment, and expands the capacity of artificial systems to mimic living ones in basic biological studies.

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