Teachers: Samuel Bottani, T. Heams, François Le Fèvre and A. Ricroch
Tutors: David Bikard and Thomas Lombes
Synthetic biology is an emerging domain with unclear definition and vague boundaries, federating a variety of scientific approaches to design or redesign whole living systems. Constituting itself as a self-standing discipline it claims huge ambitions - to create new forms of life - and to offer the convenience and power of true engineering. The goal of this new engineering is the capacity to build efficiently biological systems able to fulfill particular purposes. These purposes may be specialized functions for useful application or means of gaining fundamental biological understanding.
This course attempts an introduction to various leading trends in its current development. By presenting different approaches and case studies, it aims at training students on the use of synthesis (i.e. construction, combination and assembly) in biology either for technological goals or for scientific understanding.
The course is lab-free and is ideally complemented by a wet lab rotation in molecular biology or participation to the iGEM competition to apply the concepts.
A 2 hours weekly lecture will be followed by 2 hours of discussion and exercises. Student work will be based essentially on readings of primary literature to be prepared in advance and commented online on the moodle website, or documentation essays on some application. Each student will have to prepare during the course period a mini-project that can consist in a research proposal for a synthetic biology project, a bibliographic report on some specific approach, or a study on business or society related issues. Evaluation will be based on the active participation in the online discussion, the project report and a final exam.