Synthetic biology is the design and construction of novel biological systems or the redesign of existing biological systems. A fundamental aim of synthetic biology is to make biology easier to engineer through the application of engineering principles and standardisation of biological components. Central to this engineering is the deconstruction of biological systems into components (e.g. DNA, enzymes, genetic circuits, metabolic pathways, etc.) that can be uncoupled from each other, abstracted into predictable forms, characterised, and reassembled into novel functional systems to solve specific problems.
This course will give students insight into the assembly and design of interchangable biological parts that form the basis of synthetic biology. Students will learn the methods for standardised assembly of DNA and genes into functioning devices, including biological circuits, DNA/RNA/protein nanostructures, and engineered organisms. A particular emphasis is placed on using online tutorials and computer labs to apply engineering principles for the design of a biological system, followed by wet labs to build and evaluate the biological function of the assemblages. This design - build - test paradigm reinforces an understanding of how biological systems are not static processes to be memorised, but rather, dynamic systems which can be manipulated and built from the ground-up.
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