This graduate-level course is a comprehensive survey of genetic devices. These DNA-based constructs are comprised of multiple “parts” that together encode a higher-level biological behavior and perform useful human-defined functions. Such constructs are the engineering target for most projects in synthetic biology, a ground-up approach to genetic engineering wherein multi-gene DNAs are introduced into well-characterized organisms such as E. coli, yeast, or mammalian cells. Included within this class of constructs are genetic circuits, sensors, biosynthetic pathways, and microbiological functions. These devices have broad use in the construction of therapeutics, bioenergy systems, new materials, and biosensors. Extensive reading of current literature will illustrate the diversity and challenges associated with designing genetic devices. Additionally, we’ll examine the emerging methodology for designing and analyzing such constructs. These include issues of functional composability, abstraction, standardization, modeling, computational automated design, and systems biology tools.
Instructor: J. Christopher Anderson