National Science Foundation Funds Synthetic Cell Development

Vincent Noireaux - crop

Not to be outdone by Dutch, German and other Europeans now officially dabbling in synthetic cell research, America’s National Science Foundation has thrown its hat into the ring on funding synthetic cell development, per its April 18, 2018 letter to colleagues inviting proposals on the design and engineering of synthetic cells and cell components ($100K for relevant conferences, $300K re multicomponent subsystems, and up to $1M for research on the “pseudo-cell”). In May, following its call for proposals, NSF co-sponsored a synthetic and artificial cells roadmap meeting in Alexandria, Virginia with a handful of scientists already working in the field presenting and others in the audience looking to be educated.

Videos of the presentations are posted online and are well worth viewing.

One of the most substantive presentations was by Vincent Noireaux, a University of Minnesota physicist, whose lab I visited in 2014.  Noireaux, a former protégé of Rockefeller University’s Albert Libchaber, has been funded by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in recent years for his work on the minimal cell.

Story continued in new bookDarwin Overthrown: Hello Mechanobiology. 

darwin overthrown - final - front cover












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