Do we understand biology well enough to engineer it? Will we be able to design biological systems as “smart medicine” that sense patients’ states, process the information, and respond accordingly? We believe the answers are unequivocally positive. To lay the groundwork for this vision, we have identified key challenges across different levels of complexity:
(1) Protein: “anthro-orthogonality” and non-immunogenicity.
(2) Biomolecular circuit: robustness in diverse contexts and non-mutagenic delivery.
(3) Multicellular consortium: communication through scalable channels.
(4) Translational application: interface with physiological inputs/outputs and prototyping.
Taking a “vertical integration” approach, we are developing novel solutions at all these levels. We engineer biomolecules, molecular circuits, viruses, and cells, combining quantitative experimental analysis with computational simulation. The outcomes will contribute to not only specific biomedical applications but also the foundation for engineering mammalian biology.