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News | Aug. 27, 2018

Collaboration between 2014 Vannevar Bush Fellow and 2016 LUCI Fellow enables engineering of undomesticated bacteria

Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary field involving the rational design and engineering of micro-organisms for a predetermined purpose. The field has shown tremendous potential in a wide range of applications including energy technologies, medical sciences, and environmental remediation. In order to reach its full potential, engineered microbes such as bacteria must be able to survive in tough environments, rather than the tightly controlled settings of the laboratory. However, undomesticated bacteria that can survive outside the laboratory are difficult to engineer. In a new Nature Microbiology paper, Dr. Bryn Adams, a 2016 Laboratory University Collaboration Initiative Fellow, and Dr. Christopher Voigt, a 2014 Vannevar Bush Fellow, are part of a team that has developed an engineered system to enable efficient DNA delivery into a range of undomesticated Gram positive bacteria. This research represents an important step for synthetic biology to transition from the laboratory to novel technologies.