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Biophysics Lecture

Monday, January 9, 2012
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Beckman Institute Auditorium
Designing Biological Systems for Health and Sustainability
Pamela Silver, Professor, Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School,
Biology presents us with an array of design principles. From studies of both simple and more complex systems, we understand some of the fundamentals of how Nature works. We are interested in using the foundations of biology to engineer cells in a logical and predictable way to perform certain functions. By necessity, the predictable engineering of biology requires knowledge of quantitative behavior of individual cells and communities and the ability to construct reliable models. By building and analyzing synthetic systems, we learn more about the fundamentals of biological design as well as engineer useful living devices with myriad applications. For example, we are interested in building cells that can perform specific tasks, such as remembering past events and thus acting as a biological computer. Moreover, we design cells with predictable biological properties that serve as cell-based sensors, factories for generating useful commodities and improved centers for carbon fixation. We have recently constructed synthetic protein/RNA structures to increase the efficiency of biological reactions. In doing so, we have made new findings about how cells interact with and impact on their environment.
For more information, please contact Phoebe Ray by phone at 6440 or by email at [email protected].