Apps for cells: from toys to therapies

Wednesday, 02 October 2019 12:00
Salón de Actos del CNB - Calle Darwin, 3, 28049 Madrid
Madrid, España
Prof. Yaakov Benenson . ETH, Zurich, Dpt. of Biosystems Science and Engineering, Switzerland
Dr. Victor de Lorenzo
91 585 45 36

Information processing is one of the salient features of Life. Computers and control systems were conceived and built following careful observation of nature. These efforts have generated a large body of abstract knowledge that handles information disentangled from its physical embodiment. Some of the resulting concepts such as state machines, logic circuits, memory, and compression have made full circle and are now permeating engineering efforts in the life sciences, with synthetic biologists including ourselves implementing them using biomolecules: genes, proteins, etc. The motivation behind this work is to create man-made biological devices that harness “living” information for our needs, and also improve our understanding of the natural processes as we move along. We have made large progress in recent years, from developing basic tools for programmed information processing in live cells to translating these technologies to medical and biotechnology applications. I will describe both the basic tools and their applications, focusing on an exciting possibility of creating truly personalized cancer therapies.