University of Southern California

Morsut Lab

USC Stem Cell

Research

Cell and tissue engineering and cell-based therapies are converging. Synthetic biology has developed increasingly sophisticated tools over the last two decades to control various cell behaviors: from time-controlled gene expression to sensing-and-response orthogonal pathways. Cells are very powerful robots that can sense their environments and process information to make decisions as to what to do (e.g., become a vessel cell, secrete insulin). The promise is to use synthetic biology controls on cells behavior to make them more suitable for regenerative medicine applications. For tissue regeneration in particular, this approach will contribute to the understanding of basic tissue development principles, using the “understanding by building” approach of synthetic biology.