The 2016 Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) publication “End-to-end automated microfluidic platform for synthetic biology: from design to functional analysis” has been selected as the Journal of Biological Engineering Publication of the Year. Gregory Linshiz, former post-doctoral researcher and Director of Synthetic Biology Informatics Nathan Hillson conceived the project that served as the basis of this research. In the paper the authors present a programmable, multipurpose microfluidic platform and associated software and apply the platform to major steps of the synthetic biology research cycle: design, construction, testing, and analysis. The formal announcement of the award will be made at this year’s Annual Meeting of Institute of Biological Engineering (March 30 – April 1, in Salt Lake City, UT).
On October 1, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) established the Agile BioFoundry (ABF)—a new consortium of nine Energy Department national laboratories working to standardize and streamline the entire biomanufacturing pipeline by uniting computer-assisted biological pathway design, process integration, process scale-up, and machine learning. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is leading the consortium, which will achieve its goals by developing a system for product development and commercialization that will be broadly applicable to many bioproducts. BSE’s Computational Staff Scientist Nathan Hillson is heading up Berkeley Lab’s efforts, joined by task managers Blake Simmons and Todd Pray. For more information about the Agile BioFoundry, read this BETO blog post.
The projects of six Physical Biosciences Scientists and Engineers received funding through the FY2015 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. These projects cover a broad range of topics, including energy, biomanufacturing, and technology and tool development. Together, these efforts account for nearly 15% of the $24.9 million allocated. Eighty-two proposals were selected from a field of 169. There was an equal distribution of new and continuing projects among the selected PBD proposals.