Research Overview

This effort is broken down into five distinct research areas: Digital Biological Computation (Pollock), Analog Biological Computation (Zenith),  Biological Memory (Carnac), Biological Communication  I (Whisper), and Biological Communication II (Hail Mary). These areas: (1) are a comprehensive set of concepts to realize higher, system-level functions; (2) represent natural expertise and collaboration areas; (3) offer metric opportunities for state-of-the-art technologies; (4) can be successfully achieved within the project period yet represent an aggressive research agenda with demonstrable milestones. Each area is organized as follows:

Example Research Approach

This is an illustration of a recombinase-computing-based approach to the Digital Paradigm.


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The Living Computing Project has electronically and physically archived the most state-of-the-art collection of composable genetic circuit components freely available. These parts include mechanisms to create circuits based on transcriptional/translational mechanisms, recombinase state machines, and chromatin-based memory systems.


All of these parts are stored using the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) data exchange standard, assigned SBOL visual icons, and stored in our own public instance of SynBioHub. In addition, at the conclusion of the project, all DNA based designs will be available physically through Addgene collections.

Biological Parts

Genetic Circuits

The Living Computing Project has pushed the boundaries on the size and performance of genetic circuits, memories, and sensors. This is possible due to software design tools including Cello, Phoenix, and the TASBE analytic software. All of these efforts are open source and available at the LCP GitHub repository.

The Living Computing project has focused on how to remove uncertainty during the physical assembly processes associated with our biological parts.  We have incorporated advanced DNA assembly software, liquid handing robotics, and microfluidics.


These processes have been captured as design services using the Aquarium software suite. These services are available globally to interested parties via the Design, Automation, Manufacturing, and Prototyping (DAMP) Lab at Boston University.

Assembly Technologies


The Living Computing project has created quantitative metrics on the function, structure, and performance of our living systems. These metrics help to standardize the field and provide benchmarks upon which potential improvements can be judged.

Explore Projects


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