Kate Adamala, a University of Minnesota biologist, will work with colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to design biobased circuits to embed in synthetic cells. The goal is to create biocomputers capable of storing 1,000 times more data than conventional computing.
“It’s hard to program cells, which is why we don’t have biological computers yet,” Adamala says. “There are a lot of different genetic circuits out there, but none works perfectly. That’s not good enough to do reliable computing. It has to work 100 percent of the time.”
Biocomputing applications also include prosthetics that interface with the body and synthetic cells that have applications in space exploration.
“We are at this stage right now where computers were in the 1940s,” she says. We are part of this bigger effort to make biological computing a reality.”