Through our seminar we identified several key areas within synthetic biology that have room for advancement. We decided to focus our efforts this summer mainly on a fundamental-type project, however we will also be working on implementing a useful application.
Translating or otherwise implementing a metabolic pathway poses many problems. A major one is the need to tune the relative expression levels of the genes involved in the pathway. The goal is usually to optimize the flux of the components involved. We will be working on a tool which we hope will allow for a novel way perform these tuning operations.
As the world's fossil fuel supply starts to look ever more unstable it's time to think about the myriad uses that fossil fuels are put to besides creating fuel. Plastics are a ubiquitous manufacturing ingredient and are currently derived from fossil fuels. We will be investigating a biosynthetic way to produce plastics with a carbon source that does not originate from fossil fuels.
See Virginia 2009's project wiki for more details.
From left to right: Patrick Gildea (ChE), Eyad Lababidi (EE), Dan Tarjan (Biology), George Washington (ChE), Brandon Freshcorn (BME)