Professors Eric Klavins and Georg Seelig have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Expeditions in Computing program as part of a multi-investigator team working to establish the engineering foundations for molecular programming and synthetic biology. The foundation announced the awards – each totaling $10 million over five years – for two projects that seek to define the future of computing and information. Since the foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) launched the program in 2008, a total of 16 such projects have received funding.
Klavins and Seelig will receive $2 million as part of the expedition called “Molecular Programming Architectures, Abstractions, Algorithms and Applications” led by Professor Erik Winfree of the California Institute of Technology. The team also includes investigators from Harvard and the University of California at San Francisco.
The project explores how to systematically program the behaviors of a wide array of complex information-based molecular systems, from decision-making circuitry and molecular-scale manufacturing to biomedical diagnosis and smart therapeutics in living cells. The work could lead to real-world applications such as molecular instruments for probing biological systems and programmable fabrication of nanoscale devices.