Berkeley Launches Synthetic Biology Institute – University of Copenhagen

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26 April 2011

Berkeley Launches Synthetic Biology Institute

Synthetic Biology frontrunner UC Berkeley consolidates focus on the prioneering field by lauching a new institute focusing solely on Synthetic Biology. 

The new Synthetic Biology Institute (SBI) has been formed at UC Berkeley by S. Shankar Sastry and Richard A. Mathies, deans of the College of Engineering and the College of Chemistry, respectively. 

Key research goals are to deepen understanding of how biological systems work; develop robust, transferable tools to engineer biosystems reliably; and develop and disseminate standardized design rules for constructing biological components and systems for diverse applications. Analyzing and addressing the ethical and social impacts of synthetic biology are also a focus for the growing list of affiliated faculty.

The institute’s researchers are drawing on Berkeley expertise in engineering, chemistry, biology, and other fields to create a toolkit for discovery, invention, and mass production of synthetic biological systems that could used by many industries, including energy, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, environmental protection, chemicals, materials, and electronics.

The leadership of SBI includes its director Adam Arkin, professor of bioengineering and director of the Physical Biosciences Division at LBNL, and associate director Douglas Clark, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and executive associate dean of the College of Chemistry. The institute builds on existing Berkeley research synergies with LBNL, the College of Letters & Science’s Division of Biological Sciences, the College of Natural Resources, the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), and the Energy Biosciences Institute.

For more on SBI, visit