In her synthetic biology lab at Stanford, Christina Smolke designs circuits and switches using biological components, work that may lead to yeast that crank out medicines or ways to reprogram the immune system. Winner of the 2009 World Technology Award in biotechnology for doing work of “the greatest likely long-term significance” in her field, Smolke is also involved with several open-science initiatives designed to help scientists work together more effectively. She recently discussed her research and open-science efforts with Science News staff writer Rachel Ehrenberg.
Is your research about creating new things or mimicking what nature does?
We’re often trying to mimic some