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Computing Biomaterials

Final Report Summary - COMPBIOMAT (Computing Biomaterials)

The objective of the proposal is to establish the foundations of a new discipline at the intersections of Materials Science, Synthetic Biology and Computer Science: the development of Computing Biomaterials. Computing biomaterials will be able to perceive multiple input signals, to process these signals by complex computational operations and to produce a corresponding output signal. The design principle of computing biomaterials will be inspired by computer science, the molecular control elements will be derived from synthetic biology and the overall framework for the construction of biomaterials will rely on materials science.
The design principle will be hierarchical: at the basis, synthetic biology tools will act as sensor, processor and actuator. These tools will be integrated into biomaterials to build logic gates that perceive different input signals, process these signals by Boolean algebra and produce a corresponding readout. By the functional interconnected of several such gates, we will construct integrated biomaterial circuits that perform complex computational operations.
We use such interactive and smart materials for (i) the development of remote-controlled drug depots that release their cargo in response to external stimuli (see e.g. (ii) as sensitive analytical device to detect traces of toxins and (iii) as tool in (microfluidic) reactions to sequentially supply different reagents in a remote-controlled manner.