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Systems and synthetic biology: constructing smart and programmable microbes to address global problems

Using gene fragments to construct programmable microbes

Learn how the work of Dr. Moon has taken the gene fragment products offered by IDT and used them to produce smart programmable microbes to address plastic and agricultural waste, sustainable bioproduction, and biocontainment of engineered organisms.

Synthetic biology has emerged as a branch of science that combines biology and engineering to redesign existing organisms for a useful purpose. Scientists are trying to solve problems in many fields, from medicine to manufacturing to agriculture, by using aspects of bioengineering to create biologically-based solutions. These synthetic biology products have been applied across industries such as biomaterials, biofuels, renewable chemicals, therapeutics, food and agriculture, environmental remediation.

Synthetic biology helps solve global problems

Dr. Tae Seok Moon’s research laboratory at the University of Washington, St. Louis focuses on the regulatory networks used by bacteria and looks to address energy, environmental, and health concerns.  Their research involves using bacteria for purposes such as tumor killing agents, pathogen killing peptides, chemical producing enzymes, and toxic chemical degrading enzymes.  By redesigning microbes in such a way that they can handle multiple signals coming in, process those signals, then produce the appropriate and desired outcome Dr. Tae Seok Moon aims to be able to genetically program microbes to control activities such as gene expression, chemical reactions, and evolution.

In this webinar “Systems and synthetic biology: constructing smart and programmable microbes to address global problems,” Dr. Moon discusses how synthetic biology has the potential to address a variety of global problems, including plastic and agricultural waste issues, sustainable bioproduction, and biocontainment of engineered organisms. He also addresses the challenges this technology introduces, as well as the safety concerns involved with potential solutions.

IDT products can help empower investigators to meet their goals

A crucial part of synthetic biology is the Design-Build-Test cycle. This is an iterative process that researchers use to optimize gene expression. IDT supports the build phase by offering custom gene synthesis, and double-stranded DNA fragments which include eBlocks™, gBlocks™, and gBlocks HiFi Gene Fragments. These products are versatile for use in gene construction or modification, high-throughput screening, and other genomics assays.

Watch the recorded webinar to hear all about how IDT products can potentially be used in a broad range of applications for synthetic biology purposes.

Research profile

Associate Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri who uses products from IDT in his research.  He has 24 years of research experience in chemistry, metabolic engineering, systems biology, and synthetic biology.  Dr. Moon is also an educational counselor at MIT, an editorial board member or editor for several journals, a council member for the Engineering Biology Research Consortium, an external evaluator for Seoul National University, committee member for Biochemical & Molecular Engineering conferences, and a council member for the Engineering Biology Research Consortium.  In addition, he is also involved with the young scientist community and is the founding chair of SynBYSS, a virtual seminar series started during the Covid-19 pandemic to give young researchers the opportunity to present their work [1].


[1] Moon, T.S. Making space for young speakers.  Nat Chem Biol.  March 2022; 18(4):353-353.

Published Jun 29, 2022