Engineering Biology

Application Sectors

The roadmap illustrates many potential applications of engineering biology, and demonstrates the possible use and impact of these tools and technologies to address and overcome societal challenges, through a focus on five sectors. We frame these possibilities through the lens of solving pervasive societal challenges, including enabling and establishing a cleaner environment, supporting the health and well-being of growing populations, and accelerating innovation and economic viability of industry. From each framing societal challenge, we consider the science and engineering aims and objectives for engineering biology that may be necessary or instrumental to overcoming the challenge and we identify potential discrete technical achievements towards the objective. These technical achievements in each sector reflect our four technical themes.

  • Industrial Biotechnology

    Industrial Biotechnology focuses on technical challenges relevant to industrial use of synthetic biology and the establishment of the United States as a global leader in the bio-based economy.

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  • Health & Medicine

    Health & Medicine

    Health & Medicine focuses on technical challenges relevant to the well-being of humans, animals, and populations through preventing and eradicating disease and supporting longevity and quality of life.

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  • Food & Agriculture

    Food & Agriculture

    Food & Agriculture focuses on the tools and technologies impacting how we feed the Earth’s people and animals, including through the production of more food and increasing and improving nutritional content.

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  • Environmental Biotechnology

    Environmental Biotechnology

    Environmental biotechnology focuses on the technologies and tools to enable deployment of bioengineered systems, ecosystem remediation, natural resource management, and environmental monitoring.

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  • Energy


    Energy focuses on the application of engineering biology tools and technologies to advance clean and affordable energy sources and to reduce overall energy consumption.

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