Tim Lu – ‘Engineering Life’ article on synthetic biology
Sample6 co-founder, Tim Lu, writes about the growing field of synthetic biology and how it is advancing science as well as our society. Unlike other engineering disciplines, however, synthetic biology can—and should—be guided by the natural blueprints and organizational principles of evolution, the ultimate “tinkerer” at the cellular level. As a result, physical intuition, which has played such a central role in developing other engineering fields, may be less helpful in guiding this exploration, and we should always question whether we are using the best construction techniques. By following natural design principles, can we build better systems? Will the field of synthetic biology progress from a modest group of skilled artisans to a thriving industry on par with modern mechanical and electrical engineering? Will it ever fulfill its many promises to reprogram natural organisms and create new organisms for addressing a range of applications in human health, energy, and the environment?