Wendell Lim

Wendell Lim is a professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Lim received his A.B. in chemistry at Harvard University, his Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and completed postdoctoral research in molecular biophysics atYale University. He is the recipient of awards from the Packard Foundation, Searle Foundation, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and the Protein Society. He is the director of the UCSF/NIH Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology, director of the Cell Propulsion Lab, an nih Roadmap Nanomedicine Development Center, and deputy director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center. Lim’s research focuses on cell signaling—understanding the molecular circuits that allow cells to communicate, detect signals, make decisions, and execute complex behaviors. He is a pioneer in the emerging field of synthetic biology, which attempts to utilize our understanding of biological mechanisms to engineer cells and biological systems with useful applications in diverse areas ranging from medicine to agriculture to energy. He is a leading expert on how to rewire cells to control and modulate what types of decisions they make. He is interested in how the design process can be creatively applied in science.

Will Carey

Will Carey is a designer at IDEO (Palo Alto, California) who focuses on combining interaction and industrial design to create provocative and inspiring experiences. He is particularly attentive to the relationship between people and technology and the role of new innovations in shaping our behavior both physically and digitally. He sees an important role for design in provoking thought and discussion, and this curiosity drives him to explore new scenarios in which it is possible to question the social and ethical implications of emerging technology. Will has worked internationally in London, Japan, Milan, and San Francisco. He has exhibited in London, Milan, NewYork, and Tokyo, and won internationally recognized design awards, including Design Week’s Future of Design,Wallpaper’s Best Debut Collection, and, most recently, Blueprint’s Best Show, during 100% Design London. Will has a B.A. in product design from Central St Martin’s, London, and an M.A. in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art.
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Growing plants engineered for their field

 

Read more about the ongoing work of Will Carey and Adam Reineck from IDEO and Reid Williams from the Lim Lab at UCSF in this FastCompany article here.

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"Build Life to Understand It" argue Lim and Elowitz

Biologists and engineers should work together: synthetic biology reveals how organisms develop and function, argue Michael Elowitz and Wendell A. Lim in Nature 468, December 2010

"Although traditional disciplinary boundaries are dissolving, the cultural differences between scientists and engineers remain strong. For biologists, genetic modification is a tool to understand natural systems, not an end in itself. Thus, making biological systems 'engineerable' — a goal of engineers in the field of synthetic biology — can seem pointless. Many biologists wonder why engineers fail to appreciate the intricate, beautiful and sophisticated designs that occur naturally. Engineers are often equally perplexed by biologists. Why are they so obsessed about the details of one particular system? Why don't they appreciate the value of replacing a complex and idiosyncratic system with a simpler, more modular and more predictable alternative? These misunderstandings can make for fascinating conversations, but they can also prevent mutually beneficial synergies."

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IDEO brainstorm

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