Modest amounts of computing within living systems would be useful. I'll review work published over the last 12 months introducing rewritable digital data storage within chromosomes, cell-cell communication via engineered DNA messaging, and Boolean logic gates that control the flow of RNA polymerase along DNA. A free and frank discussion of details, limitations, and next steps is likely inevitable. If time permits I'll summarize why I am excited about porting bio-computing systems into wood fungus.
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About the speaker:
Drew Endy runs the world's first "fabless" genetic engineering lab in the new Bioengineering program at Stanford and previously helped start the Biological Engineering major at MIT. His Stanford research team develops genetically encoded computers and redesigns genomes. He co-founded the BioBricks Foundation as a public-benefit charity supporting free-to-use standards and technology that enable the engineering of biology. He co-organized the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition and the BIOFAB International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology (BIOFAB). He serves on the US Committee on Science Technology and Law and is a new voting member of the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity. He chaired the 2003 Synthetic Biology study as a member of DARPA ISAT, served as an ad hoc member of the US NIH Recombinant DNA Advisor Committee, and co-authored the 2007 "Synthetic Genomics: Options for Governance" report with colleagues from the Center for Strategic & International Studies and the J. Craig Venter Institute. He is a co-founder and director of Gen9, Inc. Esquire named Endy one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century. He lives in Menlo Park CA with his wife and Stanford Bioengineering colleague Prof. Christina Smolke.