Synthetic Biological Systems

This program supports the development and demonstration of synthetic biological systems. These modular platform technologies are designed to manipulate and interface with biology to enable new paradigms of clinical intervention for human health.


This program focuses on engineering new prototype synthetic biological systems to sense and actuate in response to human biology for clinical purposes. These technologies are biological chassis and biomimetic machines designed to be closed-loop systems to regulate cellular and tissue functions. Additionally, this program focuses on engineering new prototype parts and modules, such as the sensors and actuators that comprise synthetic biological systems. Projects should be directed toward overcoming a technological challenge that limits biomedical adoption. This program encourages projects that use a design-build-test approach.

Examples of technologies include but are not limited to:

  • synthetic genetic circuits for cellular control and decision-making
  • bacteria to regulate the microbiome
  • T-cells to target and eliminate infectious disease
  • organoid-based devices to replace tissue function
  • artificial cells to deliver therapeutics agents
  • molecular switches for synthetic genetic circuits
  • transmembrane CARs for T-cells
  • disordered protein compartments for intracellular communication

Additional Emphasis

Furthermore, this program focus on the discovery of design principles as key components in the design, build, and test methodology to engineer relevant synthetic biological systems.


Funded Projects

Grant Number Project Title Principal Investigator Institution
5-R01-EB027717-04 Micro-invasive biochemical sampling of brain interstitial fluid for investigating neural pathology Robert Langer Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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