Biomanufacturing must form the material base of any advanced, sustainable civilization. However, the means of biotechnological production (including, particularly, recombinant protein production / purification and high-throughput genetic engineering) are currently restricted by cost and other barriers that make it difficult for most people to learn and develop bioengineering capacity.
Through wetware design, we set out to make recombinant protein expression, optimization, secretion, and purification as cheap and easy as possible. In every step of the design of our wetware, we asked the following questions:
- Can we use clever wetware design to replace the need for expensive hardware and reagents?
- How can our designs make the building and testing phases of the design-build-test cycle faster and easier?
- Can we simultaneously provide the ability to build complex and sophisticated biological devices, and provide the option to build simple things easily?
With these questions in hand, we turned our attention to the challenges of democratizing the means of biotechnological production.