Fall 2017 GRASP Seminar Series: Simone Bianco, IBM, "What can robots learn from living cells?"


The cell, the "simple" single unit of life, is an amazing machine. It is capable of adapting to chemical and physical stress, communicate in fast and efficient ways, and quickly develop brand new functions through finely tuned self-assembling capabilities. Today, we routinely use cells as machines. Yet, a mechanistic understanding of the cellular “blueprint”, and its relationship with cellular state and functions, is lacking. I will present a new joint effort between IBM Research, UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Stanford University, SF State University, and the SF Exploratorium, to pioneer a new scientific discipline, called Cellular Engineering, which aims at uncovering design principles of cellular machines. The results of this work are expected to open new, exciting opportunities for cross-disciplinary research.

Disclaimer: The material in this talk is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DBI-1548297. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Presenter's biography

Simone Bianco is research staff member in the department of Industrial and Applied Genomics at the IBM Almaden Research Center. He got his BS and MS in Physics at the University of Pisa, Italy, and his PhD in Physics from the University of North Texas. Prior to joining IBM, Dr Bianco held research appointments at the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Science, the UCSF Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Applied Science department at the College of William and Mary. Dr Bianco is IBM PI and site director of the Center for Cellular Construction, an NSF Science and Technology Center which aims at transforming cell biology into an engineering discipline. Dr Bianco is also currently PI of a DARPA-funded Center for Biotechnology, which aims at understanding the design principles of viral Defective Interfering Particles to use them as antiviral therapy.