MAE Seminar – Cyberbiological Systems for Health and Space


12:45 pm-1:45 pm
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MAE-A Room 303
939 Sweetwater Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611


Cyberbiological Systems for Health and Space

Thursday, August 31, 2023, at 12:50 pm
Location: In-Person MAE-A, Room 303

Amor A. Menezes, PhD
Assistant Professor
UF Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

A quarter of the way through the century of biology, the world is poised for bioengineering advances that will profoundly improve human health, climate targets, energy supplies, food security, agriculture, supply chain resilience, and bioterrorism prevention. Nationally, the White House’s March 2023 report Bold Goals for U.S. Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing set 2050 goals that include enhancing models of complex biological system operation and ensuring the reliability of synthetic programs to regulate biological protein and molecule production. Such programs can be external to the biology, resulting in “cyberbiological systems” whose sensing, computation, and actuation are also external. Alternately, programs can be encoded within cellular DNA, resulting in “cybergenetic systems” with internal sensing, computation, and actuation. In this talk, I will describe my group’s cyberbiological control of two testbeds: human blood coagulation during disease and bacterial pharmaceutical production in space. Because these testbeds experience multiple interactions, functions, timescales, and disturbances, their regulation represents significant bioengineering advances toward meeting 2050 goals. I will detail our pioneering use of feedback control theory to manipulate the concentrations of proteins driving coagulation disorders. I will also explain our cybergenetic compensation of spaceflight-induced stresses in experiments aboard the International Space Station launched on SpaceX CRS-27 and Crew-7.

Amor Menezes is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida, also affiliated with Biomedical Engineering and Agricultural and Biological Engineering. He received his B.A.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo and his M.S.E. and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan. He completed postdocs in Aerospace Engineering and Bioengineering at the University of Michigan and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively. For his work in space synthetic biology, he was named a Fellow of the Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program, and for his articulation of genetic control modules, he was named an Emerging Leader in Biosecurity by the Center for Health Security. His research has been featured by international media, including Science Today (CBS Radio), Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Der Spiegel, and Cosmos Magazine. Between 2017 and 2023, he was the Science PI of NASA’s Center for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space. He is the PI of three multi-university microbial biomanufacturing experiments launched at the International Space Station. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and an Associate Editor of the IEEE Control Systems Society Technology Conference Editorial Board. His lab is funded by NASA and the DoD.

MAE Faculty Host: Tommy Angelini


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UF Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering