It’s been said that “Biology is the new digital” but many “digital” aspects of biological systems have preceded their modern counterparts by billions and billions of years (most notably in storage, control systems, and communications). Comparisons between the field of synthetic biology and electrical engineering/computer science abound, but how well does the hype compare with the current state of the art, and what lessons can we learn and apply in this fledgling industry? These topics are addressed in the context of the speaker’s personal and professional journey through large professional institutions, small startup enterprises and a very special community biology laboratory in Brooklyn.
Dr. Mike Flanagan has been a member of Genspace since 2014 and has been working on a number of Synthetic Biology projects (especially involving biomaterials, optogenetic control systems, bacterial photography and iGEM). Mike has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Caltech and has spent more than two decades working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Bell Labs and entrepreneurial companies (including Arieso where he was CTO). When he is not working in Brooklyn (the city of his birth), Mike is either at home in Chester NJ or trying to return to London.