Grant: $400,000 - National Science Foundation - Jun. 19, 2009
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Award Description: This proposal aims at establishing the foundational knowledge that will enable us to build chemical interfaces to synthetic multi-cellular machines. The researchers will design, fabricate and test a series of hybrid systems consisting of genetically modified bacteria, microfabricated arrays of chemical actuators and optical sensing. The broad goal of the technical work is to develop techniques for modulating synthetic signaling pathways in /E. coli/ bacteria using chemical micro-interfaces. Aim 1 will produce a microsystem and a synthetic gene construct in which cells, guided by the microsystem, will express gene expression patterns programmed by the user. Aim 2 expands this by adding coordinated feedback into the microdevices to develop a complete hybrid two-component Turing reaction-diffusion system. Aim 3 then applies the knowledge gained in Aims 1 and 2 to transition the control from a flat culture plate onto a spheroidal assembly of cells resembling a simple multi-cellular system. The long term vision of this work is to design, build and test chemical interface microsystems that dynamically guide gene expression patterns of multi-cellular synthetic biology systems. This will require the development of both the relevant microsystems intended for sensing and communicating with cells and the synthetic gene constructs which respond to these microsystems. The United States today stands on the brink of a technological revolution, much as we did in the mid-20th century when we began to build complex electronic devices. The ability to create complex spatial patterns of gene expression, (ie. synthetic bacterial differentiation) will enable the fabrication of a new class of organic constructs built from co-operating cell populations in a manner analogous to differentiation schemes in developmental biology.
Project Description: In the first quarter, we have 1) begun the design of a Turing system in E. coli composed of the lambda and lux promoters, 2) begun the construction of plasmids required for the Turing system in E. coli , and 3) begun design of an inkjet system to be used as a chemical interface to the E. coli Turing system. We recently published on our inkjet system in PLoS ONE (Cohen, Morfino, Maharbiz, PLoS ONE, 2009).
Infrastructure Description: N/A
Jobs Summary: New job created hasn't started yet and will be reflected in subsequent reporting period. (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jun. 19, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.