We take five with Mo from LabGenius to talk about their genius approach to genetics.
Hi Mo! So can you tell us in layman’s terms a bit about what you do at LabGenius?
Since the advent of life 3.6 billion years ago, the survival all species have depended on rapid innovation at the genetic level. At LabGenius, we harness Nature’s evolved-technologies to develop new materials. For example, we’re currently working on the development of a next-generation biological body armour that will decrease the incidence of bullet wounds on the battlefield.
Is it as futuristic as it sounds?
Much of our time at LabGenius is spent refining ‘Eva’ -an AI-driven evolution engine that’s hooked up to a bank of liquid handling robots in a genetics lab. When we’re faced with developing a novel biological material it’s Eva’s job to intelligently design, physically construct and empirically test trillions of unique genetic designs. Once she’s found a high performing synthetic DNA sequence, we upload it in to a living organism (typically a microbe) so the new material can be manufactured at scale. Using this approach, we’ve been developing a raft of advanced biomaterials that we think could have the potential to address several high-value problems.
What was your journey to Makerversity?
LabGenius was founded by a team of synthetic biologists trained at Imperial College. We startedoutintheImperialCollegeincubatorbut asthe companyhas expanded,itmadesense for us to establish our own office close to the South Kensington lab facility.
Who do you collaborate with?
We collaborate very closely with large industrial companies on co-development projects.Where possible, we also like to work with artists and designers to work out how best to integrate our biomaterials into new products.
What book do you find you recommend most often?
1. The Machinery of Life by David S. Goodsell (ISBN: 9780387849249)
2. Oryx And Crake by Margaret Atwood (ISBN: 9780349004068)
3. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (ISBN: 9781846558238)
How has Makerversity impacted you?
Being surrounded by immensely talented artists and designers has helped our team to become more bold in our scientific ambitions and more mindful of how our work will impact society.