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Biomolecular Control Systems

Humans have been influencing the DNA of plants and animals for thousands of years through selective breeding. Yet it is only over the last 3 decades or so that we have gained the ability to manipulate the DNA itself and directly alter its sequences through the modern tools of genetic engineering. This has revolutionized biotechnology and ushered in the era of synthetic biology. Among the possible applications enabled by synthetic biology is the design and engineering of feedback control systems that act at the molecular scale in real time to steer the dynamic behavior of living cells. We refer to the set of methods to design and build such control systems as /Cybergenetics/—a genetics era realization of Norbert Wiener’s cybernetics vision. In this talk, I will present our ideas on the design and synthesis of cybergenetic control systems and discuss the main theoretical and practical challenges in their design and implementation. I will also address the great opportunities that exist for control theorists as well as the potential impact of cybergenetic systems on industrial biotechnology and medical therapy.

Type of Seminar:
Control Seminar Series
Prof. Mustafa Khammash
ETH Zurich, D-BSSE
Feb 19, 2018   17:15 h

Contact Person:

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Biographical Sketch:
Mustafa Khammash is the Professor for Control Theory and Systems Biology at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich. He works at the interface between control theory and systems and synthetic biology to develop theoretical, computational, and experimental methods for the modeling, analysis, and control of biological networks.

Prof. Khammash received his B.S. degree from Texas A&M University in 1986 and his PhD from Rice University in 1990, both in electrical engineering. In 1990, he joined the engineering faculty of Iowa State University, where he created the Dynamics an Control Program and led the control group until 2002. He then joined the engineering faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), where he was Director of the Center for Control, Dynamical Systems and Computation (CCDC) until 2011 when he joined ETH Zurich. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, IFAC, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).