Team:Cooper Union

Open Source Solutions for DNA Synthesis, Biosafety and SynBio Education.

Tools that compress the “design-build-test” cycle in synthetic biology are especially needed to reliably advance scientific proof-of-concepts to the industrial scale. As DNA synthesis continues to be a major bottleneck for R&D, our open source solution utilizes a novel enzymatic approach towards controllable de novo DNA synthesis, which is performed rapidly, inexpensively and less toxic than current methods. With speedy synthesis comes greater responsibility in industry towards biosafety; we propose the ultimate kill switch mechanism - a yeast-based chassis that features a programmable lifespan based on telomeres. Simplified DNA assembly will lead to a greater emphasis on pathway design and characterization in bioengineering programs. For schools, our "Biohacker Kit" utilizes a modular input/output binary plasmid platform that allows students to rapidly generate and test multiple biosensor configurations, with no “cutting and pasting” required. Additionally, inexpensive access to quality laboratory gear will be made possible by our “Open Hardware” collection of devices.

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