UW EE Receives Funding from SRC's New Semiconductor Synthetic Biology Program
The Klavins Lab has received a $375K grant from the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) as part of the new Semiconductor Synthetic Biology program (SSB). The UW is one of six universities to be initially funded for their research; MIT, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Yale, Georgia Tech, and Brigham Young will also each receive funding during the first stage of this new program.
The SRC award will fund the development of a framework for designing, building, testing, and deploying finite state machines in living cells. "Such a capability would enable applications including multicellular diagnostic devices, division of labor in complex metabolic processes, pattern formation for tissue engineering, and possibly new approaches to understanding diseases such as cancer in which cell state is improperly regulated," says Eric Klavins, associate professor of electrical engineering. For the SSB program, Klavins' group will build new synthetic genetic regulatory elements that can be "wired up" to implement arbitrary finite state machines in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The approach will be demonstrated via the construction and characterization of small finite state machines in cells, with the aim of making them perform robustly and predictably.