Recently the Ginkgo team had the pleasure of paying a visit to NEB in Ipswich, MA, and Reshma gave a talk on some of our past and current work. For those of you who’ve never heard of NEB (impossible if you’re a biologist, quite likely if you’re anything else), NEB was started in the mid-1970s and largely grew up around recombinant DNA technology. NEB is perhaps most famous for their expertise in restriction enzymes, even folks like Rich Roberts hang out there. We have long been relying on NEB’s EcoRI, XbaI, SpeI, and PstI to assemble BioBrick™* parts.
NEB is pretty unusual in that it is a privately held company that uses proceeds from its reagent business to fund basic science research. Its a nice ideal for Ginkgo to shoot for: make great tools for synthetic biology and then use those tools and the resulting resources ($$$) to go engineer cool new biological systems.
Synthetic biology is in dire need of better tools to make engineering biology easier. The challenge is not to figure out what to do but where to start. At Ginkgo, we think a lot about the engineering design cycle (design->construction->testing). We need better CAD tools for design, better parts and assembly processes to make construction faster, and better measurement techniques so that we know what’s happening with our engineered systems.
*BioBrick™ is a trademark of The BioBricks Foundation.