804310 Synthetic biology

Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Rothbauer, Mario , Tan, Cherng-Wen Darren , Ehmoser, Eva-Kathrin
Offered in
Wintersemester 2023/24
Languages of instruction


This course will introduce students to the rapidly-developing field of Synthetic Biology. We will examine the major domains of research involved and try to understand what motivates each area of work and what approaches are used to achieve their goals. We will also see how Synthetic Biology employs the basic knowledge and skills of diverse conventional fields of study, including biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering, as well as how it unifies this diversity through the adoption of specific work strategies. An appreciation will be developed for the powerful solutions that Synthetic Biology will offer for addressing biomedical and environmental problems. However, emphasis will also be placed on appreciating how dangerous such technology can also be. Finally, we will examine how Synthetic Biology tries to mitigate these pitfalls by including meaningful social engagement among its aims.

Previous knowledge expected

Basic knowledge in at least one of the following topics:
- Biochemistry;
- Biophysics ;
- Molecular biology;
- Cell biology.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

At the end of the course, students should be able to:
1. Be familiar with selected major topics in Synthetic Biology.
2. Be able to identify the aim of a reported work.
3. Be able to identify the motivation and impact behind this aim.
4. Understand how this work is different from conventional bioengineering.
5. Be able to make a simple risk assessment of the work.
6. Be able to identify how these risks are managed.
7. Appreciate how the work would impact society and human health.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.