Engineering Biology & Materials Science
Processing considers the engineering of biology to conduct “unit operations” to build or destroy materials through polymerization and degradation, templating, patterning, and printing.
The Processing technical theme considers advancements in engineering of biology to conduct “unit operations” to build or destroy materials through polymerization and degradation, templating, patterning, and printing. This includes engineering the biological extrusion or secretion of materials, material deposition, and self-assembly and -disassembly. Processing also includes engineering biology-based technologies, tools and systems (e.g., cell-free systems) to manufacture, recover, and purify materials. Includes engineering biological materials to function in non-natural environments and extreme conditions.
Advancements in processing of materials with, or directed by, biocomponents can enable new characteristics and functionalities. Depicted here, synthetic polymers with differing dimensionality are sorted and printed in a manner that localizes cells on a surface. The complex patterning of bioactive material is enabled by polymers that provide protection through a printing process. Processing of materials systems (e.g., extracellular matrix mimetics) in a manner that can distinguish and sort various components of the system for precise deposition into patterns provides a degree of control and reproducibility not available in natural systems.
Processing Breakthrough Capabilities
Enable secretion of monomers or polymers without destruction of cells.
Enable efficient protein/polypeptide secretion, including proteins containing non-standard amino acids.
Advance bioprocess techniques used in fermentation to isolate secreted hydrophobic materials.
One-pot fermentation and conjugation or macromolecular assembly for streamlined separation.
Design and engineer eukaryotic chassis and secretion systems that allow compartmentalization and timing of synthetic pathways, taking inspiration from developmental biology.
Incorporate coordinated consortia of production chassis that can build (in situ) complex patterned materials from diverse unit-level materials (i.e., diatom deposition of silica combined with bacterial protein functionalization).
Ability to control self-assembly and disassembly of biomolecule-based or -embedded materials.
Development of materials design approach that allows for programmatic control of self-assembly and disassembly.
Understand the mechanisms of cellular remodeling of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and dynamic interactions between cells and templating materials.
Ability to control and direct hierarchical self-assembly to achieve desired material architecture, properties, or functions.
Ability to control molecular and macromolecular deposition, patterning, and remodelling on biotic and abiotic surfaces.
Increase capability to deposit or pattern biomolecules on various substrates.
Control proteins on the outside of an organism for selective reactivity with material precursors for the creation of size and shape controlled materials.
Ability to build robust interfaces between living systems and semiconducting/electronic surfaces to sense and manipulate biological processes.
Produce templated materials of atypical biological shapes or size scales.
Engineer living organisms that change their surface properties upon response to an external stimuli, in order to template desired materials on demand.
Controllably form on-demand macroscale materials templated on biological organisms with desired properties.
Enable biomolecule and cellular patterning and printing under diverse conditions.
Develop technology to spatially place single cells at defined locations with high spatial resolution in two dimensions, as the biological pattern for the material.
Establish 3D-printing methods for producing biological (living) composite materials.
Capability to print microbes and/or grow desired three-dimensional communities from two-dimensional patterns under various environmental conditions.
Maintain desired microbial community structural organization over time.
Print cellular structures on demand on any surface.
Engineer cells to produce materials in environments optimal for the ex vivo material.
Develop additional polymerization strategies (e.g., peroxidase-catalyzed, reversible or irreversible covalent couplings) for abiotic and non-natural monomers that can occur in aqueous or fermentative environments.
Engineer minimal cells for production and processing of biological materials (e.g., chromosome-free bacterial cells).
Engineer thermophilic microorganisms for producing biomass or biomolecules to produce materials in/at higher temperatures.
Manage biological complexity and interactions in experimental model systems to determine the ideal host species for a product.
Production and processing of biological materials in the absence of water.
Enable robust processing of materials using cell-free systems.
Expand cell-free systems to different bacterial species and mammalian cell types.
Use cell-free systems for large scale production of complex biologics including proteins with post-translational modifications.
Establish cell-free “distributed processing” for sustainable feedstock utilization.
Augment materials with freeze-dried cell-free systems for on demand, real-time diagnostics.
Establish cell-free systems for on-demand and personalized biomanufacturing platforms.
Develop carbon-optimized cell-free bioconversions for the industrial scale production of materials.
Enable selective component and material degradation through engineering biology.
Identify and engineer enzymes (e.g., esterase) to interact and degrade polymeric substrates with tunable performance.
Identify enzymes capable of interaction with, and degradation of, both hard and soft segments of polymer systems.
Design and engineer cellular half-life and patterning for persistence in materials.
Engineer enzymes capable of degrading or reversing click chemistry reactions used to conjugate proteins and polymers, while leaving the polymer and protein intact.
Engineer living cells to produce and secrete the target enzymes for modulating polymeric scaffold in situ.
Enable force application and specific ECM binding (‘AND gate’) to trigger ECM degradation.
Enable aqueous biomolecules to interact at high affinity with existing insoluble polymers.
Engineer polyspecific enzymes that can break specific classes of chemical bonds between heteroatoms (C-O, C-N, etc.), also potentially targeting unsaturation (e.g., metathesis).
Industrial infrastructure and accelerated downstream processing of biocomponent-containing materials.
Enable systems that operate in semi-continuous modes with modular units designed using process-intensification principles to accelerate transport and reaction processes.
Establishment of multiple (5+) pilot scale facilities (300-10,000 L) for the production of biomolecules and biomaterials; such facilities each need to enable fermentation, downstream processing, and feedstock supply.
Process monitoring and control for modular and on-site (i.e., point-of-need) biomanufacturing, incorporating domain expertise.
Establishment of a robust network (25+) of pilot scale facilities for the production of biomolecules and biomaterials.
Full integration of unit operations for homogeneous biological and heterogeneous chemical and biological catalysis with separations.
Development of point of need production of biomolecules and biomaterials.
Quick infrastructure stand-up at point-of-need for large scale production of biomolecules and biomaterials.
- Jia Liu, J., Kim, Y.S., Richardson, C.E., Tom, A., Ramakrishnan, C., Birey, F., Katsumata, T., Chen, S., Wang, C., Wang, X., Joubert, L., Jiang, Y,, Wang, H., Fenno, L.E., Tok, J.B.H., Pașca, S.P., Shen, K., Bao, Z., & Deisseroth, K. (2020). Genetically targeted chemical assembly of functional materials in living cells, tissues, and animals. Science, 367(6484), 1372-1376. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aay4866
- Deepankumar, K., Shon, M., Nadarajan, S.P., Shin, G., Mathew, S., Ayyadurai, N., Kim, B., Choi, S., Lee, S., & Yun, H. (2014). Enhancing thermostability and organic solvent tolerance of ω‐transaminase through global incorporation of fluorotyrosine. Advanced Synthesis & Catalysis, 356(5), 993-998. https://doi.org/10.1002/adsc.201300706
- Panganiban, B., Qiao, B., Jiang, T., DelRe, C., Obadia, M.M., Nguyen, T.D., Smith, A.A.A., Hall, A., Sit, I., Crosby, M.G., Dennis, P.B., Drockenmuller, E., Olvera de la Cruz, M., & Xu, Ting. (2018). Random heteropolymers preserve protein function in foreign environments. Science, 359(6381), 1239-1243. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aao0335
Last updated: January 19, 2021