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    di Bernardo Lab - Systems and Synthetic Biology Lab
    You are here: Home Current Projects Automatic control of living systems

    Automatic control of living systems

    Synthetic Biology aims at rational engineering of living organisms to improve human well-being and environmental
    sustainability, thus promising a paradigm shift in human technology. Its full potential has not been achieved yet because of the
    complexity of engineering biological systems where basic biological parts are intrinsically noisy and not modular. The overarching
    goal of our lab is to build technological tools to engineer reliable biological systems that are robust despite their individual components being not by translating principles of control engineering to
    molecular and cell biology. Automatic control is a well-established engineering discipline to build “controllers” to steer the dynamic
    behaviour of a physical system in a desired fashion. The ability of engineering biological systems analogously to physical systems would be a major technological breakthrough enabling to dramatically improve human well-being.

    By building upon control engineering for physical systems, we developed an innovative microfludics platform and are currently  exploring two strategies of increasing difficulty to control biological systems:
    “external” controllers and  “embedded” controllers in yeast and mammalian cells. External controllers are implemented in a
    computer acting on cells using small molecules via microfluidics devices. Embedded controllers are made from biological parts
    and integrated within individual cells to steer their behaviour.

    Our lab is coordinating the H2020 FET OPEN EU project "COSY-BIO"