Culture-Shock: Fusing biological function with electronic predictability

by Professor Anil Wipat and the iGEM team

16:00 (60 min) in Daysh 1.29

The Newcastle University iGEM 2016 team is creating a novel field of synthetic biology by fusing biological function with electronic predictability. Our project, 'Culture-Shock' involves augmenting electronic circuitry with biological components to create an electro-biological hybrid system. These biological alternatives include lightbulbs, batteries, capacitors and resistors: for the lightbulb, we are building a genetically-encoded device based on the htpG heat-shock gene promoter; for the battery, we are modifying the pore proteins of Escherichia coli to improve a microbial fuel-cell; for the capacitor we are investigating timed interactions of two different repressors and for the resistor, we will exploit the ability of metallothionein proteins to sequester conductive metals. We will assemble these devices in a breadboard format, specifically designed for exploring the potential of electro-biological circuitry. The possibilities of such hybrid devices go far beyond our project. We are therefore developing a series of interactive simulators, designed to engage and to provoke discussion.