NIAC Phase I Award: Detoxifying & Enriching Martian Soil for Agriculture

Synthetic Biology Architecture to Detoxify and Enrich Mars Soil for Agriculture (Credit: Adam Arkin)

A Synthetic Biology Architecture to Detoxify and Enrich Mars Soil for Agriculture

Adam Arkin
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, Calif.

Value: Approximately $125,000
Length of Study: 9 months


Although the theoretical case for space biological engineering is convincing, since recent studies on the use of biology in space showed substantial payload minimization over abiotic approaches even before any engineering, the functioning of these biological technologies has yet to be proven in a space-like environment.


Singularity University Fires Up Synbio Startup Launchpad

An update on the Singularity University’s synthetic biology effort via the Singularity Hub:

Synthetic biology is poised to become one of the big technologies of the 21st Century – a game changing area of science that could alter everything we know about health, energy, and humanity. But if the synthetic biology revolution ever wants to get off the ground, it’s going to need a new wave of entrepreneurs to develop companies and establish the [infrastructure] and industry. Singularity University is looking for those entrepreneurs…and it’s going to help them succeed.  The Synbio Startup Launchpad is SU’s latest effort to empower the next generation of business leaders with the disruptive influence of accelerating technologies. Using software incubators as a model, the Synbio Startup Launchpad will give top tier startups up to $50k in funds, supplies, and lab services. […]


NASA Ames Hiring Research Fellows for Synthetic Biology Lab

A P3 Navy aircraft with Hangar One at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. (Copyright 2009: Douglas Messier)

Synthetic Biology Innovation Laboratory

NASA Ames Research Center has an established track record in biotechnology and fundamental biology research, with applications in astrobiology, radiation biology, biosensors, biofuels, bionanotechnology, human health, and bioregenerative life support. Ames is seeking to infuse synthetic biology into these and other applications.

Two positions are available for Research Fellows in the newly established Synthetic Biology Innovation Laboratory, a cross-disciplinary research group formed to create new technologies that meet NASA needs.


Craig Venter to Speak as NASA Looks to Use Synthetic Biology in Space


News media are invited to attend a discussion lead by world famous biologist J. Craig Venter, best known for his role in sequencing the human genome and creating the first cell “booted up” from a synthetic genome.

Biology on Earth readily demonstrates that life is an efficient user of resources surrounding it, turning those resources into habitats, materials and forms that perform various functions. If the promise of engineering biology on Earth is within reach, then it is time to ask scientists and engineers about possible applications of synthetic biology in space.