Engineering Biology
Environmental Biotechnology Challenge:

Expand tool sets for bioremediation and resource recycling.

Improve bioremediation and revitalization of water and soil.

Engineering Biology Objectives & Technical Achievements

Introduction of engineered microorganisms, plants, and animals (specifically fish and mussels) for watershed and wastewater remediation and revitalization.

Engineering DNA Biomolecular Engineering Host Engineering Data Science

Synthesis of gene clusters to produce relevant degradation machinery.

Strategies for efficient genome editing of naturally-occurring species to be re-introduced into the environment.

Engineer new genomic programs, such as combinations of synthetic auxotrophies, that increase the safety and reduce the risk of deploying engineered microbes in the field.

Design of novel enzymes to degrade xenobiotic small molecules such as toxins and antibiotics.

Design and construction of novel physiological mechanisms for the sequestration and processing of nitrogen and phosphate in run-off.

Reliable integration of relevant pathways to be stable against genetic mutation.

Strategies to ensure the non-pathogenicity of the host (to the environment, over the long term), including the introduction of kill switches to remove engineered organisms once their work is finished.

Develop defined consortia of microbes and algae to most productively revitalize water sources.

Predictive ecological models of species interactions to minimize the risk of uncontrolled cell growth in the environment/ecosystems.

Plant platforms that can be engineered for remediation of a range of contaminated environments.

Engineering DNA Biomolecular Engineering Host Engineering Data Science

Plants transformed with pathways and metabolisms that enable the uptake of targeted contaminants and that have clearly visible ‘markers’ for public surveillance (for example, colors that clearly mark the plant as being genetically modified, so as to prevent people from eating these plants).

Enzymes engineered for efficient bioconversion and/or biosequestration of environmental contaminants.

Engineered variants of plants used for phytoremediation, such as Indian mustard (Brassica juncea L.), Willow (Salix species), Poplar (Populus deltoides), Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans), and Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus L.), that do not permit the flow of DNA into wild-type plants.

Design and modeling of genetic programs for pathways and engineered metabolisms in select organisms for a wide range of targeted environmental contaminants.

Last updated: June 19, 2019 Back