Engineering at the Chemistry-Biology Interface: Revolutionary Advances in Applied Science from the Molecular-Level to the Global Ecosystem
Rachel A. Brennan, Penn State University, University Park, USA

Recent advances in molecular biology and analytical chemistry have led to revolutionary changes in our ability to engineer natural systems to generate human-desired outcomes. The impacts of this vital research cover a tremendous scope, from mitigating human disease using synthetic cell biology, to restoration of our global environment using innovations in ecosystem-level bioremediation. Scientists and engineers at the forefront of these fields must investigate, understand, and ultimately manipulate system-level interactions occurring across wide physical scales and spanning many disciplines. Such researchers constantly strive to obtain the most complete “systems-level” understanding of behavior so that human-designed, beneficial changes in one part of the system do not result in negative or unintended chemical or biological consequences elsewhere in the system. Conscientious, rational design is needed to ensure sustainable progress in this rapidly changing and highly interdisciplinary field.

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