by Richard Fox - Executive Director of Data Science, INSCRIPTA. The seminar will take place on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 09:30 – 10:30 at the University of Copenhagen, Room 7.15.92, Mærsk Tower, 15th floor, Blegdamsvej 3b, 2200 Copenhagen.
Harnessing the power of biology to create products of commercial & scientific value is a challenging problem. The goal of reducing biological engineering to a predictable discipline akin to mechanical or electrical engineering, while laudable, has met with limited success, owing to the fact that many of the governing rules are still not known nor well understood. Because engineering biological systems from first principles remains a distant dream, forward biological engineering will, for the foreseeable future, remain grounded in empirical methods requiring iterative cycles of design, create, test, and learn (DCTL).
Sequence space is vast and obtaining knowledge of where to intervene to achieve desired outcomes is a central challenge in engineering biological systems. The key to addressing this challenge is through large scale diversity generation, where many thousands of individual ideas can be created & evaluated in a rapid, efficient, and cost-effective manner. Ideas that show promise are then recombined in novel ways that leverage the principles of evolution (both natural and artificial) to efficiently navigate incomprehensibly large combinatorial spaces. This combinatorial optimization process is further accelerated through machine learning guided strategies that exploit the information contained in empirically derived genotype to phenotype functional maps. Strategies and tools to carry out this approach to biological optimization at the protein level have been well developed over the last two decades and are now routinely used to create successful commercial processes and deliver new scientific insights.
In principle, the strategy for effective, generalized biological engineering at all scales (from protein, to pathway, to genome) has existed for some time. Yet, implementation in practice had to await the development of technologies to rapidly edit the genome at all scales. Fortunately, the required technologies have recently become available through CRISPR based genome editing. These technological breakthroughs now place us at the dawn of being able to engineer biological systems at heretofore unattainable scale and complexity. With the ability to efficiently intervene across the entire genome, in both massively parallel single and multiplex combinatorial editing formats, researchers are now only limited by their imaginations and capacity to evaluate or characterize new ideas. We envision that the wide availability of reliable, cost-effective, strategies & tools for genome engineering will play a transformative role in ushering in the next (bio) industrial revolution.
Everybody is welcome and no prior registration is needed.
The seminar is arranged by the NextProd consortium in collaboration with the Danish RNA Society and the Center for non-coding RNA in Technology and Health.