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Theory-based Engineering of Biomolecular Circuits in Living Cells

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Technical Report,01 Mar 2019,28 Feb 2020

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge United States

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The objective of this research is to establish a data-driven theoretical framework based on mathematics to enable the robust design of interacting biomolecular circuits in living cells that perform complex decision-making. Microbiology as a platform has substantial advantages with respect to human-made hardware, including size, power, and high sensitivityselectivity. While the latest advances in synthetic biology have rendered the creation of simple functional circuits in microbes possible, our ability of composing circuits that behave as expected is still missing. This hinders the possibility of designing robust complex decision-making circuits, such as those that recognize and classify chemical signatures and those that program degradation of pre-specified materials upon contact. Overcoming this bottleneck goes beyond the engineering of new parts or new assembly methods. By contrast, it requires a deep understanding of the dynamical interactions among synthetic modules and the cell machinery, a particularly hard task since dynamics are nonlinear, stochastic, and involve multiple scales of resolution both in time and space.

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  • Biomedical Instrumentation and Bioengineering

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