CPSC Lecture with Pamela Silver: – University of Copenhagen

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CPSC Lecture with Pamela Silver:

"Designing Biology for a Healthy World"

Professor Pamela Silver from Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School and The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University will visit CPSC on 2 November 2015 and give a lecture in the CPSC lecture series.

Abstract: The engineering of Biology presents infinite opportunities for therapeutic design, diagnosis, prevention of disease and new sustainability strategies. Towards these goals, we seek to make the engineering of Biology faster, more predictable and cheaper. This ‘Synthetic Biology’ has deep practical and social consequences for the pharmaceutical as well as the commodity industry. Here, I will present concepts and experiments that begin to address how we approach these problems in a systematic way.

By one strategy, we engineer components of the microbiome to act as both diagnostics and therapeutics. In one example, we have engineered natural gut bacteria to record the exposure of animals to antibiotics and to count the number of cell divisions as the bacteria passes through the gut. We can engineer the same bacteria to secrete toxins that could result in localized killing of pathogens and to act in a communal manner. Taken together, these experiments have far-reaching implications for the use of biology to prevent and treat disease in the future.

Towards sustainability, we seek better ways to engineer cells to harvest sunlight and/or electricity from solar power. We have engineered cells with increased photosynthetic capacity to produce high value commodities. We have also engineered the interface between living organisms and chemistry and created the ‘bionic leaf.’ Here, we have devised a novel way to store solar energy that mimics photosynthesis at the same or better efficiency.

About Pamela Silver:
Pamela Silver was one of the founding members of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School and the first Director of the Harvard University PhD Program in Systems Biology. In 2009 she became one of the first members of the Harvard University Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

In 2012 Pamela Silver was named the Elliot T and Onie H Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology at Harvard. She has served on numerous editorial boards including Nature Molecular Systems Biology, BMC Systems Biology, Genes and Development, Synthetic Biology and PLoS One. She was the Editor of Molecular Biology of the Cell and has served on the Council of the American Society for Cell Biology and on the Committee for Women in Cell Biology.

Time: 2 November 2015 at 15:00-16:00.

Place: Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C, lecture room A2-70.03.