报告人：Ran Chao, Ph.D. LifeFoundry公司
Ran Chao is a co-founder and the CEO of LifeFoundry, Inc., an emerging startup in the high-throughput synthetic biology space. Ran attended Zhejiang University until the sophomore year then transferred to the University of British Columbia in Canada. He went to the University of Illinois for the Ph.D. program at Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. His research focused on biofuel and the tool development of high throughput synthetic biology. Ran has designed and built the iBioFAB (Illinois BioFoundry for Advanced Biomanufacturing), the first prototype of a fully automated and highly versatile robotic system for molecular and cellular engineering in the Carl R Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. This platform, as well as the corresponding molecular methods has been used in a number of proof-of-concept studies on pathway fine-tuning, genome-scale perturbation, and mammalian genome editing. These works were published in Metabolic Engineering, ACS Synthetic Biology, Nature Communication, etc. At the end of 2016, Ran co-founded LifeFoundry, Inc. to further advance this technology. The company is based in the University of Illinois Research Park, aiming to accelerate the R&D in biotechnology with synthetic biology, robotics, and machine learning. LifeFoundry now has a team of ~20 people and are taking contracts from Fortune 500 companies. Ran is also an entrepreneurship fellow of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois.
Synthetic biology applies engineering principle to study biological systems through design-build-test cycles and has great promises in health, biochemical industry, as well as fundamental discovery. However, the workflows are still mainly driven by human research scientists. As a result, it’s slow, expensive, and prone to human errors and biases. In 2015, Ran developed the first prototype of a fully automated and highly versatile biofoundry at the University of Illinois. Recently, LifeFoundry team has developed the 2nd generation biofoundry, D.A.R.W.In. system (Directed Autonomous BioResearch Workspace Infrastructure). These platforms allow algorithms to directly design biosystems, orchestrate workflows, and analyze data. This talk will discuss the latest applications of algorithm-driven synthetic biology at the University of Illinois as well as LifeFoundry, Inc. including pathway fine-tuning, genome-scale perturbation, and mammalian genome editing.