Technical University of Darmstadt

Faculty of Biology


„Simplicity, practicality, systematic thinking and the idea that understanding a thing – or a process or a cell – isn't ensured until that thing can be built.“ (HHMI bulletin, 08/2008)

In 2009 the Department of Biology committed itself to re-direct and re-focus its research towards a future key technology known as „Synthetic Biology“. „Synthetic Biology“ can be defined as the design and construction of novel artificial biological pathways, of novel organisms and devices and the re-design of existing biological systems. The field has developed from the convergence of other disciplines such as genetic engineering, molecular biology, electrical engineering, information theory, nanotechnology and bioinformatics and as such it represents a highly interdisciplinary endeavor. Most important to the field is the inherent key concept of recruiting engineering principles to biology. This includes methodologies such as abstraction, modularity and standardization and therefore defines „Synthetic Biology“ as the engineering discipline of biology. „Synthetic Biology“ represents an emerging discipline, however, it promises to become one of the leading technologies for many bio-medical and bioengineering developments in the future.

Early efforts in „Synthetic Biology“ aimed at altering the behavior of individual biological components. However, these initial systems have now evolved to focus on the construction of complex networks in single-cell and multicellular systems and very recent achievements include the development of sophisticated behaviors such as bi-stability, oscillations, proteins and nucleic acids customized for biosensing, optimized drug synthesis and programmed spatial pattern formation. The de novo construction of such systems offers valuable quantitative insight into naturally occurring systems. Furthermore, as the techniques for system design, synthesis and optimization mature, it is reasonable to predict that the field will rapidly grow thereby extending the existing capabilities of synthetic systems with a large number of novel applications.


Technical University of Darmstadt
Faculty of Biology
Schnittspahnstrasse 10
Heisenberg research group ribogenetics
64287 Darmstadt
Forschung & Entwicklung
Forschung & Lehre
mehr als 500