Huimin Zhao - Challenges and Opportunities at the Nexus of Synthetic Biology, Machine Learning, and Automation
From Katie Gentilello
Inspired by the exponential growth of the microelectronic industry, my lab has been attempting to build a biofoundry that integrates biology, automation and artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning for rapid prototyping and manufacturing of biological systems for synthesis of bioproducts ranging from chemicals to materials to therapeutic agents. In this talk, I will discuss the challenges and opportunities at the nexus of synthetic biology, machine learning, and automation and highlight a few of our accomplishments and the recently launched NSF AI research institute for molecular synthesis. Specifically, I will introduce three interconnected stories, including: (1) development of the Illinois Biological Foundry for Advanced Biomanufacturing (iBioFAB) for next-generation synthetic biology applications; (2) development of genome-scale engineering tools for rapid metabolic engineering applications, and (3) integration of biocatalysis and chemical catalysis for synthesis of value-added chemicals, which necessitates the development of AI-enabled synthesis planning and catalyst design tools.