Transformational Synthetic Biology for Military Environments (TRANSFORME)

Objective
Harness biology’s capacity for custom material production & modification of material properties
• Is it possible to match the speed of biological processes with that of operational needs?
• How do we harness low energy biological processing methods to enable scalable expeditionary production?
• Can we achieve targeted in-situ reprogramming of biology indigenous to operational theaters?
• What strategies are possible for inhibiting, protecting, or countering adversarial use of synthetic biology

Technology forecasting of synthetic biology

Identify factors that will inform and shape policy, ethics and approval for use of synthetic biology products

Research Question
How will Synthetic Biology Transform the Future Operating Environment?
How do we control biological processes at operational tempo?

How can synthetic biology accelerate natural processes and what approaches can be used to counter them?
• Can we control and understand the timescales associated with complex assembly and disassembly of materials?
• Can we exploit biology indigenous to theater of operations?
• Can we obtain solutions to access functionality across diverse operational environments (e.g., Arctic, Jungle, Desert, Urban)?
• How do we achieve targeted operational control within military environments?
• What high-throughput tools are needed to isolate, redesign, and control microbiomes that live in military environments?
• Can we discover new functions and mechanisms already adapted for these environments? What strategies can we use to control (accelerate or inhibit) these functions?
• What strategies can we use to accelerate and sustain function and what are the limits for operational environments?

Can we build understanding to harness biology’s capacity for low energy routes for material production and adapt at operational tempo?
• What agile tools and capabilities can we develop to accelerate biological control at operationally relevant timescales?
• Can we take a systems-level approach to bridge gaps in design rules and challenges of scale, by coupling critical design parameters to genetic programming and advanced analytics? Will this approach accelerate discovery to product timeline?
• Can time and length scales be optimized to multiple military production and protection specifications?
• How do we control low energy routes to assembly and disassembly of materials for expeditionary forces?
• How do we achieve rapid and agile programming across a broad range of hosts to access specialty material production and military environments?