About SBI

The Synthetic Biology Institute at UC Berkeley (SBI) was established in 2010 to clear a path to the widespread production of new biological systems to benefit society. Through the combined effort of its researchers, partners and Industry Members, SBI is developing the standards and technologies needed to create transformative applications in energy, materials, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food products, security, and other industries that affect our daily lives.

An interdisciplinary institute in its essence, SBI draws on the work of researchers representing eight departments in four colleges at UC Berkeley and three divisions at nearby Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Agilent Technologies, Inc., based in Santa Clara, Calif., is SBI’s founding Industry Member, and SBI is working to bring more companies into fruitful relationships with the institute. Berkeley engineers and scientists already have taken a leading global role in synthetic biology research. SBI builds on this base, providing new opportunities for research collaboration and education, as well as a common technology infrastructure.

Research Program and Achievements

SBI engineers and scientists are engaged in both foundational and applicational research. The institute also analyzes the ethical, environmental, economic, legal, and societal impacts of synthetic biology. Read more

Widely recognized for their work in bioengineering, chemical and biomolecular engineering, and other fields in the life and physical sciences, SBI researchers are helping to lay the groundwork for a synthetic biology revolution. Read more

What Is Synthetic Biology?

Synthetic biology focuses on producing engineered cells, microbes, and biological systems to perform new, useful functions. It aims to develop technologies, methods, and biological components that will make the engineering of biology safer, more reliable, more predictable and, ultimately, standardized. The field also is illuminating key mechanisms of natural biological function and the organization of biological systems, leading to better engineering of new biological forms and systems.

Synthetic biology holds wide-ranging potential to meet societal needs and transform technology that impacts human health, energy, materials, chemistry and pharmaceuticals, the environment, food production, and global security.

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