Applying bioinformatic tools and algorithms. Evaluation of the momentum of synthetic biology to the society.
One focus of research is to reverse-engineer the molecular mechanisms of gene regulation strategies and to provide model-driven hypotheses for associated evolutionary consequences. By using a combination of theoretical and experimental methods some of the regulatory mechanisms behind stochastic phenomena in the expression of carbon utilization systems in E. coli shall be deciphered. Another focus is a forward designed and implementation of well-defined synthetic circuits with novel functionalities. Based on quantitative experimental characteristics of individual biological tranches, in silico simulations are performed to explore the signal processing potential of those circuit modules. In doing so, these analyses serve as a theoretical guide for an optimal design of synthetic gene regulation strategies.
The Bioethics research projects deal with ethical demands in combination with an evaluation of potential technical and social ventures of synthetic biology. The scientists try to condense different criteria which shall serve as a tool box (so called "Stufenmodell") to critically discuss and structurally value the momentum of synthetic biology in present and future human societies.