What is Synthetic Biology Informatics?
Synthetic biology is a new engineering discipline. It aims at developing new biological products using a model-driven product development cycle. Synthetic biology informatics goal is to develop information systems to support this vision. In particular, we help multidisciplinary teams develop new products by moving their data through the design, fabrication, and testing phases of their projects.
Our research involves the development of new algorithms. It also includes the development of databases of genetic components. Besides the development of resources associated with specific stages of the process, we imagine systems that can support product development workflows. Results of this research increase the productivity of research organizations.
Moreover, informatics is part of security strategies for life science organizations. It helps track data, ensure data integrity, and detect potential threats.
Synthetic Biology Informatics Applications
Part of our research has been focused on prototyping software applications for synthetic biology.
We have developed GenoCAD, a software to help biologists capture design rules for DNA. We have used it for designing expression systems for various target organisms. For instance, it has been used to analyze plant promoters, design synthetic transcriptions factors in yeast, and design expression vectors for microalgae. More information about our work on genetic design is available here.
We have also developed software to help with the assembly of synthetic DNA molecules. GenoREAD helps molecular biologists verify the sequence of their plasmids. We have also analyzed workflows of DNA synthesis processes.
Life science organizations are increasingly dependent on informatics infrastructures. Cyberbiosecurity is a new specialty aiming at understanding and managing the new biological risks emerging the interface between the cyber and biological aspects of life science workflows.
Methods from synthetic biology can also help better understand natural biological processes. We are using mathematical modeling and microscopy to understand how yeast cells divide.