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Community Lecture to feature synthetic cell developer

Photo of Kate Adamala

Kate Adamala

The upcoming College of Science and Mathematics 2020 Community Lecture will feature biochemist Kate Adamala, co-founder of Synlife, a synthetic cell therapeutics start-up company.

The lecture, titled “Life, but not alive,” is scheduled for Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m. at the Fargo Theatre.

According to Adamala, building live cells from non-living components will soon become a reality. “Constructing synthetic cells, precisely manipulating molecules and designing all biological processes, will give us unprecedented control over living systems,” she wrote in the abstract for her talk. “And on the way to engineering organisms from simpler building blocks, we are learning more about how our life works. Building cells allows us to address fundamental questions about the nature of life, investigating history of life on Earth and elsewhere in the universe.”

She said researchers are developing new biocomputing solutions, and moving toward building a living computer and electronics that interface with natural tissues.

"Building synthetic life does not sound like an everyday activity, and it isn't. It is groundbreaking research with potential implications ranging from the way we treat disease to the very understanding of how life may have emerged in the first place,” said Sylvio May, professor and chair of physics. “I'm so excited Kate will visit our community and share her knowledge and vision with us."

Adamala is an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Minnesota. Her research in genetics and cell biology seeks understanding chemical principles of biology, using artificial cells to create new tools for bioengineering, drug development and basic research. She is one of the leaders of the Build-a-Cell synthetic cell community.

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