Thinking Soils: a synthetic biology approach to material-based design computation

Martyn Dade-Robertson, Javier Rodriguez Corral, Helen Mitrani, Meng Zhang, Anil Wipat, Carolina Ramirez-Figueroa, Luis Hernan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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The paper details the computational modelling work to define a new type of responsive material system based on genetically engineered bacteria cells. We introduce the discipline of synthetic biology and show how it may be possible to program a cell to respond genetically to inputs from its environment. We propose a system of synthetic biocementing, where engineered cells, living within a soil matrix, respond to pore pressure changes in their environment when the soil is loaded by synthesising new material and strengthening the soil. We develop a prototype CAD system which maps genetic responses of individual bacteria cells to geotechnical models of stress and pore pressure. We show different gene promoter sensitivities may make substantial changes to patterns of consolidation. We conclude by indicating future research in this area which combines both in vivo and in silico work.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2016
EventACADIA 2016 Conference - Michigan
Duration: 29 Oct 2016 → …


ConferenceACADIA 2016 Conference
Period29/10/16 → …


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