Let's use biology in ways that make sense, aka lean on the strengths of biology to accomplish tasks better than would be done through other through.
Things biology is good at: parallel processing, self-regeneration & fast multiplication, communication
Meeting 1: April 10, 2010
Food or Energy
- Allergen free foods - custom garden toolbox; bacteria to break down lactose; lettuce allergy; cilantro; eggplant enzyme; particular plants (plants are less cmoplex to figure out)
- Foods with alternate tastes (applications in diets/controlling caloric intake)
- Is taste powerful enough to make you feel "full"?
- Material conversion (to fuel)
- Inspired by the lovely aroma in the hall just now: organisms that produce cool smells...like fresh baked cookies, or flowers... Or maybe organisms that can cover up bad smells? Would work by emitting a neutralizing chemical or by absorbing the nasty one...I guess this could go in environment actually
- GE foods toolkit (grow your own healthy food--flavor, color, not too robust b/c it can't get out into the environment, propose that each gene is coexpressed with a different pigment so you know that it is safe).
- [E. Chromi]
Bacteria that absorb toxins in air (sulfur dioxide, etc) or water (?)to be used in quality testing applications
Something to detect toxin concentrations in air - wouldn't use e. coli because they need to grow in aqueous environments (or could it work through liquid/air interface or on plates?)
- Organism that breaks down [something] (for removal of unwanted waste).
Health or Medicine
- Invasin-based tumor-seeking bacteria. (what else could invasive bacteria do?) It would be cool just to do a proof of principle in designing bacteria that exclusively invade a certain tissue type (muscle, liver, etc), dying in the absense of some signal unique to that tissue. You can imagine the usefulness for medicine - it could be a vector for hyper-specific drug delivery, or could replace a lost function in the tissue (ie, producing insulin for diabetics, etc). Even just showing that we can target a bacterium to a specific tissue exclusively (Time permitting, two or three different tissues) would be a springboard for some pretty sweet grandiose claims about future applications, a la team Cambridge last year.
- Bacteria for weight loss, blood diagnostics
Different colors of bio-films depending on environmental stimulus (could create patterns)
- Light production (bioluminescence), organic lcd's wikipedia link
- DNA/nano assembly
- Robots that can smell, eat, give off signals in response to different environmenmtal stimuli
- All input/output based devices
- Connections between biological systems and electronic systems
- Pros of electronic systems:
- Cons of electronic systems:
- Pros of Biological systems:
- massive parallel computation possible
- Cons of Biological systems:
- Slime molds, or other types of multicellular fungi - not sure what we'd do with them, but they've got some very cool properties (reproduction, communication, algorithms). I remember reading something about algorithms governing where hyphae grow, and how that has been linked to traffic design...I'll see if I can find it again...
- Sound responsive/mechano-responsive organisms - bacteria that react in different ways in response to loud noises, or high frequencies (screaming yeast?)
- Parallel computing/bacterial computation
- electronic biosensors /smelling robots
- code breaking
- yeast memory
- computer aided design
Meeting 2: April 24, 2010
Ideas: Focus on food and genetic fences
4 main components: Educational;Control Device--> how to tightly control RNAi; kill switch; color/flavours/scents
Allergy Foods: peanut allergies, vegetable allergies, choclate (actually that many people aren't that allergic to the actual coco plant, but to other things present in the chocolate), nut allergies
*(Minimum)Central Goal: Showing inducible production of different products in agrobacteria
- Safety: Genetic fences, color indicator (different colors identify different genes that are expressed)
- Above and Beyond: Fully-equipped tool-kit(educational component) to grow at home
- Next-Steps: choose what allergy(ies) to target, find the genes involved