Mailing address: University of Waterloo: Biology 1 – 377B, 200 University Ave. W. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3G1
Office: Biology 1, room 377B, University of Waterloo
Join us for reception and light refreshment at 2:30 p.m. and Kate Adamala will present her talk, "Life, but not alive" at 3 p.m.
Please register for this event.
Building live cells from scratch, from non-living components, will soon become a reality. Being able to construct whole cells, precisely manipulating molecules and designing all biological processes, will give us unprecedented control over living systems. Already, on the way to engineering organisms from simpler building blocks, we are learning more about how life works.
Synthetic cells find many applications in basic and applied research. Building cells allows us to address fundamental questions about the nature of life, investigating history of life on Earth and elsewhere in the Universe. We are developing new biocomputing solutions, towards building a living computer and computers interfacing with natural tissues. We investigate complex natural processes on biochemical, cellular and population levels, and we are testing all basic assumptions made by biologists from the beginning of science.
Synthetic cells can be used for personalized medicine: reconstructing patient's specific mutations in each synthetic cell sample and testing drugs for that very specific variant of the disease. More extreme medical applications are also possible: treating astronauts during long term space missions with drugs custom made in specifically designed synthetic cells.
Synthetic cells offer the new frontier in bioengineering: with the ability to fully control every aspect of living cell, we can move beyond messy natural biology and change our understanding of life.
Kate Adamala, Assistant Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at University of Minnesota, is a biochemist building synthetic cells. Her research aims at understanding chemical principles of biology, using artificial cells to create new tools for bioengineering, drug development, and basic research. The interests of the Protobiology lab span questions from the origin and earliest evolution of life, using synthetic biology to colonize space, to the future of biotechnology and medicine. Kate is a co-founder of the synthetic cell therapeutics startup Synlife, and one of the leaders of the Build-a-Cell synthetic cell community.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.