At Cornell iGEM, we look to the future to build now what synthetic biology needs next. We developed our project with the synthetic biology community in mind, and built a tool that the field can use for years to come. Our project shifts the paradigm of cellular signaling to a frequency-based signal and is an innovative step in mimicking digital systems.
Come explore the future with us.
But how? We rely on sensory elements to allow cells to respond to frequency signals, while combining them with tunable protein degradation tags to control the kinetics of protein expression. This has allowed us to develop a tunable gene-expression system developed to respond to controlled and defined stimuli. This further acts as a template for development of systems responsive to various frequency input signals, from heat to light to sound.
Innovative modeling serves as a critical component of our toolkit and as a modular tool that other teams can use in the future. We developed advanced deterministic and stochastic models using a unique proof-based approach. Further, we were able to draw from Degree Theory in mathematics to construct formal proofs regarding the nature of our dynamical system independent of specific parameter values to create a robust modeling framework.
As a team, we always try to keep in mind the impact of our projects as well as the considerations we make in their design. We spoke with other iGEM teams and synthetic biologists to learn more about how to design our system, and where it could go in the future. We further integrated ourselves in the local and national communities, leading workshops and teaching local students about the growing field of synthetic biology and the exciting possibilities it can have!