Rice University has launched the Rice Synthetic Biology Institute (RSBI) in Texas, USA, which aims to foster collaborative research in synthetic biology and translate it into technologies that benefit society.
President Reginald DesRoches stated, “The Rice Synthetic Biology Institute demonstrates how everyone benefits when the top minds in natural sciences and engineering collaborate at a leading research university. This research institute will draw global attention to the great work that is happening in our highly regarded synthetic biology program at Rice and it will help us continue to attract and retain the best talent in the field.”
Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary field where researchers design living systems with new properties to address societal needs. With over 18 faculty and more than 100 students and postdoctoral scholars across the Schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences connected to this expanding field, RSBI plans to strengthen this community at Rice, connect basic and translational research, and elevate Rice’s international visibility in this space. This follows a 2018 university investment in strategic initiatives aimed at propelling faculty and programs supporting synthetic biology.
Caroline Ajo-Franklin, professor of biosciences, bioengineering, and chemical and biomolecular engineering, leads the institute with the support of an interdisciplinary faculty steering committee. Ajo-Franklin stated, “At Rice, we have such deep expertise in synthetic biology. Connecting that deep expertise through this institute will lead to better science and more innovation.”
Executive Vice President for Research Ramamoorthy Ramesh added, “Rice University is an amazing place to learn, teach, research, and innovate. The Rice Synthetic Biology Institute will ensure that our researchers are recognized on the international stage for the life-changing work they are doing in Houston and around the world.”
The institute will support research to understand how to design new types of living systems for applications in medicine, manufacturing, and environmental sustainability.