21 Feb 2024
21 Feb 2024
5.00 pm

BT Seminar Hall

Design meets Evolution: Theory and practice for fine-tuned bioengineering

Prof Victor De Lorenzo (FEMS Expert: Prof Victor de Lorenzo - FEMS (fems-microbiology.org) ) is a lead researcher within the Systems Biology Program at the Centro Nacional de BiotecnologĂ­a (CSIC) in Madrid. His current research focus involves deep engineering of soil bacteria both as cell factories for industrial biotransformations and as agents for environmental bioremediation and valorisation of toxic waste. Other areas of research include environmental microbiology, metabolic engineering, Pseudomonas putida biology and biotechnology, gene expression regulation, synthetic (micro)biology, and global warming. Victor has published over 300 scientific publications in Microbial Biotechnology and Molecular Microbiology Journals. He was awarded the King Jaime I Prize to Environmental protection (2001).

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Abstract: The prevailing view of biological evolution is not unlike bricolage/pastiche/tinkering—in sharp contrast with rational engineering. Yet, different paths often lead to solutions that coincide or converge whether they emerge from naturally-occurring evolution or rationally designed. Such a conjunction reveals the ability of biological systems to physically explore solution spaces and gravitate towards information-rich attractors. The ensuing technical question is how to bring about genetic hyper-diversification for securing the desired performance of a given synthetic device. This issue will be illustrated with a number of practical cases where artificially enhanced variability was key to find ideal outcomes to otherwise intractable design hitches of interest for industrial and environmental biotechnology.