Ron Weiss of MIT to discuss designing synthetic gene networks Jan. 31

Ron Weiss portrait
Ron Weiss

Ron Weiss, a pioneer of synthetic biology, will share his research with the Colorado State University community on Jan. 31, 5-6 p.m., in the Lory Student Center Grey Rock Room, as part of the Vice President for Research’s ASPIRE seminar series. A reception will be held before the presentation, 4:30-5 p.m.

The emerging field of synthetic biology holds promise for a wide range of applications, such as programmed tissue engineering, environmental biosensing and effecting, biomaterial fabrication, and an improved understanding of naturally occurring biological processes. Weiss, professor of bioengineering and director of the synthetic biology center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will discuss designing synthetic gene networks that perform desired functions in single- and multi-cell environments.

A major focus of Weiss’ work is the synthesis of gene networks in bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells engineered to perform analog and digital logic computation in a host organism. He has constructed and tested several novel in vivo biochemical logic circuits and intercellular communication systems.

Weiss is also a leader in extending the capability of synthetic biology for the programming of cell communities to perform coordinated tasks using cell-to-cell communication. His group does hands-on experimental work and development of software infrastructures for simulation and design work.

Weiss has been engaged in synthetic biology research since 1996 when he was a graduate student at MIT, where he helped set up a wet lab in the electrical engineering and computer science department.  After completion of his Ph.D., Weiss joined the faculty at Princeton University, and recently returned to MIT to take on a tenured faculty position in the Department of Biological Engineering.

Weiss’ talk is hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering. It is free and open to the public.