Mapping Synthetic Biology Workflows
4 November 2016, Arizona State University
This workshop was the second in a series of small, interdisciplinary meetings connected to Engineering Life.
Through this project, we are working to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between biology and engineering in synthetic biology. The aim of this workshop was to grapple with different approaches to synthetic biology by focusing at the level of research design.
We brought together a group of 17 practitioners (synthetic biologists and social scientists) to spend a day actively mapping and 'debugging' workflows that are being developed across a variety of synthetic biology laboratories and facilities. We used these maps as a provocation to think about how biology and engineering are interacting in synthetic biology, and whether synthetic biology raises new and specific workflow challenges compared with more established biotechnology platforms.
We hope this mapping exercise will be a useful and revealing way to explore similarities and differences emerging across workflows in different synthetic biology labs, and to start identifying common modes of success and failure.