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What is synthetic biology? Researcher and professor Dr. Xiaojing Gao introduces this cutting edge field. He explains how his lab at Stanford University engineers biomolecular circuits, which are meant to be programmable, reproducible, and friendlier to mammalian cells than non-biological molecules. Xiaojing hopes to create the building blocks of this technology, to one day better treat all sorts of medical conditions ranging from cancer to epilepsy. He also describes his path to his interdisciplinary career. Related to this episode: • Dr. Xiaojing Gao: https://cheme.stanford.edu/person/xiaojing-gao • Gao Lab at Stanford: https://gaolab.blog/ • CAR T Therapy for cancer: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/car-t-cell-therapy • Targeted Therapy for cancer: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/targeted-therapies • biological logic gates: https://phys.org/news/2020-04-cells-protein-logic-gates.html • Brain & Behavior Foundation: https://www.bbrfoundation.org/ • Cell Reprogramming With CRISPR/Cas9 Based Transcriptional Regulation Systems: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fbioe.2020.00882/full • Physics Olympiad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Physics_Olympiad • Michael Elowitz: https://www.bbe.caltech.edu/people/michael-b-elowitz • Liqun Luo: https://profiles.stanford.edu/liqun-luo • Can we write biological “software updates” to cure disease?: https://www.sciencejournalforkids.org/articles/can-we-write-biological-software-updates-to-cure-disease/ • Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) https://science.osti.gov/wdts Subscribe and find podcast updates at: http://www.k12engineering.net. Support Pios Labs with regular donations on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pioslabs. You’ll also be supporting projects like the Engineer’s Guide to Improv and Art Games, The Calculator Gator, or Chordinates! Thanks to our donors and listeners for making the show possible. The K12 Engineering Education Podcast is a production of Pios Labs: http://www.pioslabs.com.