SynBERC:Human Practice

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Contents


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Overview

The defining goal of SynBERC is to make biology into an engineering discipline. To this end, Thrusts 1 through 3 link evolved systems and designed systems, with emphasis on organizing and refining elements of biology through design rules that enable the engineering of complex integrated biological systems. Thrust 4 examines synthetic biology within a frame of human practices, with reciprocal emphasis on ways that economic, political, and cultural forces may condition the development of synthetic biology and on ways that synthetic biology may significantly inform human security, health, and welfare. It includes both applied research modules on Intellectual Property and Commons Issues and on Security, Environmental and Health Risks under Kenneth Oye of MIT; and fundamental research modules on Ethics and Ontology under Paul Rabinow of the University of California at Berkeley.

Goals and Specific Aims

The overarching goal of Thrust IV is to examine synthetic biology within a frame of human practices, with reciprocal emphasis on ways that economic, political, and cultural forces may condition the development of synthetic biology and on ways that synthetic biology may significantly inform human security, health, and welfare. Our goal is to do this within innovative modes of collaboration between human sciences, ethics, and biological science.

FUNDAMENTALS RESEARCH MODULES

Berkeley Human Practices Lab Page:Rabinow_lab


APPLIED RESEARCH MODULES

The goals of the Applied Research Modules are to address practical concerns over security, environmental and health risks with attention to public perceptions and understandings of synthetic biology; and reconciling tensions between private intellectual property rights and the public commons to foster innovation in synthetic biology while facilitating diffusion of the fruits of innovation. Applied work on these areas of concern will be informed by research on fundamental problems in ethics and ontology.

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