What: Synthetic biology can be used to dye blue jeans in a much more environmentally friendly way.

How: Indican, the precursor to the indigo used to dye denim blue, can be difficult to break down.

Why: Synthetic biology could be used to generate a more soluble version of indican, making blue jeans more environmentally friendly.


Drug Delivery

What: Synthetic biology can used to better target tumors during drug delivery, using E. coli.

How: E. coli can loaded with a particular drug and a protein can be expressed that will target to a specific type of tumor cell.

Why: Targeted drug delivery decreases the chances that harmful medicine is spread throughout the patient’s body.



What: Synthetic biology research is currently developing an inexpensive malaria drug to be used in impoverished nations.

How: The technique of choice will involve metabolically engineering Artemisinin to create a new metabolic pathway.

Why: This can then be used as an inexpensive malaria treatment in third world countries; furthermore, any proof of concept can be used to further metabolic engineering.


What: Synthetic Biology is being combined with fields such as microelectronics and microfluidics to enhance cellular analysis on a real-time basis.

How: Microfluidics are currently used to handle small amounts of liquids at a microscopic level. This notion can be combined with synthetic biology to better control the flow of biological medium

Why: This then results in a multitude of potential application, including genetic circuitry, biotherapeutics, and biosensor technology.


What: Synthetic biology has been used to develop an electronic nose that can detect varying agricultural and medical conditions, including certain carcinogens.

How: Scientists are currently refining biosensor technology to be used to detect various aromas. This is possible through a combination of electronic aroma detection, pattern detection through various algorithms, and a thorough understanding of synthetic biology.

Why: This can then be used for a variety of purposes, especially for the detection of various volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere, food ripeness, and various carcinogens. (VOCs).


What: Synthetic biology can be used to quickly and easily detect drug-resistant tuberculosis.

How: iGEM teams are developing phages on a handkerchief that change color when tuberculosis is present.

Why: Quick and easy detection of tuberculosis is important for curing patients quickly.



What: Synthetic biology can be used to make vegan cheese and make our food source more sustainable.

How: Genes used to create milk are replicated and placed in yeast, which then generate the milk.

Why: This process could eliminate the need for cows, which leave a huge carbon footprint.