Synthetic Biology is the engineering of biomolecular processes for useful functionalities for energy, environment, and medical applications. In the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase of the use of systems and control theoretic tools in synthetic biology. Systems and Control Theory has been instrumental in many engineering domains, chiefly in Electrical, Mechanical, and Aerospace engineering for obtaining desirable properties, including stable and robust system behavior in the presence of environmental perturbations. Biomolecular processes suffer from lack of robustness to context and this has been hampering progress in the field. This problem has sparked notable interest in the research community towards using systems and control theoretic tools for equipping engineered biomolecular processes with robust behavior. This award funds a workshop to bring together experts in synthetic biology, in the application of systems and control theory to engineering biology, and in the use of computer science to obtain biological design abstractions. Students from local universities will be invited to the workshop.
The workshop, to be held in Spring/Summer 2020, seeks to discuss current challenges in engineering biology and to set a research roadmap for how systems and control theoretic approaches may be used and expanded to tackle some of these challenges. This roadmap will provide researchers a rich set of problems to investigate and will inform decision makers about areas where additional funding may unlock the route of synthetic biology to societal impact. The workshop includes broader talks, technical talks, and several group discussions. Presentations of the outcomes of the group discussions will form the basis for a workshop report, which will be publicly disseminated.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.