Life Redesigned: The Emergence of Synthetic Biology

Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 7:00pm
J.J. Collins,
J. J. Collins, lecturer

Synthetic biology is bringing together engineers and biologists to design and construct biological circuits out of proteins, genes and other bits of DNA, and to use these circuits to rewire and reprogram organisms. These re-engineered organisms are going to change our lives in the coming years, leading to cheaper drugs, "green" means to fuel our car and clean our environment, and targeted therapies to attack "superbugs" and diseases such as cancer. In this talk, we highlight recent efforts to create synthetic gene networks and programmable cells, and discuss a variety of synthetic biology applications in biocomputing, biotechnology and biomedicine.

This joint meeting of the GBC/ACM and the Boston Chapter of the IEEE Computer Society will be held in the Broad Institute Auditorium (MIT building NE-30). The Broad Institute is on Main St between Vassar and Ames streets. The auditorium is on the ground floor near the entrance.

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For more information contact Peter Mager (p.mager at

J. J. Collins has appointments at each of:

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Dept. of Biomedical Engineering and Center for BioDynamics, Boston University
  • Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University

He is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and a William F. Warren Distinguished Professor, University Professor, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of the Center for BioDynamics at Boston University. He is also a core founding faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. His research group works in synthetic biology and systems biology, with a particular focus on network biology approaches to antibiotic action and bacterial defense mechanisms. Professor Collins' patented technologies have been licensed by over 25 biotech, pharma and medical devices companies, and he has helped to launched a number of companies, including Novophage and Joule Unlimited. He has received numerous awards and honors, including a Rhodes Scholarship, a MacArthur "Genius" Award, an NIH Director's Pioneer Award, the World Technology Award in Biotechnology, as well as numerous teaching awards. In 2011, Professor Collins was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for "contributions to synthetic biology and engineered gene networks".