Introduction to Synthetic Biology

BMME 490-030

Course Description – Spring 2018

Synthetic biology is a new engineering discipline with the goal of constructing biological systems with practical and useful functions. Example application areas include sensors, medical diagnostics, bioenergy/biofuels, programmable biomaterials, chemical synthesis, environmental testing and many others. Synthetic biology is different from historical ge- netic engineering approaches in that a design engineering methodology is a central com- ponent of this discipline, as is the creation and use of standardized, well-characterized interchangeable parts. While oriented towards the creation of biological devices, the ad- vancement of the field will also provide significant insight into the core principles and functions of biological systems.

This course provides an introduction to both the theoretical principles as well as hands- on techniques of synthetic biology. It consists of a weekly lecture covering relevant back- ground and theory as well as a lab focused on the learning of fundamental experimental techniques.

Note: Due to high demand and the limited lab space available, this course is under controlled enrollment (permission of instructor).  A waitlist is maintained and we will get students into the class if at all possible. Please contact smgomez at unc dot edu for more information.

 

Course Objectives & Topics

Course Activities:

  • Reading and discussion of key synthetic biology papers
  • Discussion and review of iGEM and previous iGEM projects
  • Coverage of fundamental biological and engineering concepts and principles
  • Discussion and application of the engineering design process to the design of biological systems
  • Hands-on practice and application of synthetic biology methodologies including bac- terial cell culture, transformation, BioBrick assembly, PCR, gel electrophoresis and fluorescence imaging
  • Basic mathematical modeling of biological systems
  • Need identification and system design
  • Ethics and societal impact

 

About Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology is a new engineering discipline with the goal of constructing novel biological systems with practical and useful applications. Potential applications are in numerous fields including sensors, diagnostics, bioenergy/biofuels, programmable biomaterials, environmental testing and many others. Synthetic biology is different from historical genetic engineering approaches in that an engineering methodology is a central component of the discipline as is the creation and use of standardized, well-characterized interchangeable parts. While oriented towards the creation of biological devices, the advancement of the field will provide significant insight into the core principles and functions of life.

Spring 2016 Details

Course Number: BMME 420 (3 credit hours)

Location: Lecture: 019A Phillips Hall, Lab: 536 Taylor Hall

Lecture: Wed, 3:35-4:50

Lab (2 sections):

  • Thur, 12:30-2:30 (Lab 1)
  • Wed, 2:40-4:40 (Lab 2)

Grading: Mix of homework assignments, exams, lab notebook and a final project with presentation.

Pre/Corequisites: Pre – BIOL 101 & CHEM 101; Co – BIOL 202 & CHEM 102

Links to Related Information

The UNC iGEM Team

There is no UNC iGEM team currently planned for the 2018 season.