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Jim Collins '87: Synthetic Biology and Redesigning Life, Hopes and Challenges

Date of Lecture: October 2, 2013

About the Speaker: Holy Cross alumnus James J. Collins '87 is a pioneer in the emerging field of synthetic biology. He is the William F. Warren Distinguished Professor, University Professor, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University, where he directs the Center of Synthetic Biology. He is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a core founding faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. He has been awarded the MacArthur "Genius Award," a National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award, as well as the Metcalf Cup and Prize, BU's highest teaching honor.

About the Talk: Synthetic biology combines biology and engineering to create circuits that can program organisms to behave a certain way. Collins shares how the field of synthetic biology evolved, what it's accomplished, and the opportunity that lies ahead. He talks about government, media and public interest in synthetic biology, and he touches on the growing trend of DIY biology. His talk was the first in a yearlong series to explore "The Practice of Science in a World of Competing Values."

Watch the lecture below or download it free on iTunes U.