Making Synthetic Viruses

Andrew Hessel is a Distinguished Researcher with Autodesk Inc and a visionary in synthetic biology. So, what is a company involved in computer aided design doing in synthetic biology? A lot, potentially. Hessel is with the Bio/Nano Programmable Matter group, which is developing advanced software tools to let you design living systems at the nanoscale level.

Here is a TEDx talk by Hessel in which he describes the scope and promise of synthetic virology. Making viruses at will! Imagine a scenario where a virus could look out for and destroy cancer cells and later destroy itself. Another scarier scenario is that of selective bio-weapons such as in this popular article – Hacking the President’s DNA.

P.S. I started contributing to SynBioBeta. Here’s my first article on bringing engineering methodologies into biology.


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