Workshop on Multi-Cellular Engineered Living Systems

May 26-28, 2020

Bethesda, MD

Register here.

Submit graduate student and postdoc abstracts here. Travel awards will be available.

Please note that NSF is generously covering registration costs, but travel and lodging costs are the responsibility of the participant.

Reserve a hotel room at the Bethesda Marriott here.

This workshop is endorsed by the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society. Please see here for a list of endorsed meetings.


Workshop Description:

Multi-cellular engineered living systems (M-CELS) are purpose-driven living systems with multiple interacting living components. They are engineered for specific goals or functions but take emergence into account during the design process, allowing the final system to emerge through natural and non-natural biological processes. M-CELS research is intended to provide a fundamental engineering understanding that enables a quantitative approach bridging between single cells and organs or organisms. The field is still developing, so M-CELS as a field of research is still rapidly expanding.

As these technical capabilities and scientific understanding grow, it is critical to address the full scope of M-CELS research and applications, their manufacture, their eventual impact on the international economy and US competitiveness, their standardization and regulation, and the ethical issues that will inevitably arise. This includes issues such as standards and elements of a pragmatic system for M-CELS, such as regulations and policy, economics and international competitiveness, and clinical and translational research.

This workshop will bring together many of the leaders in the field to explore the technical, ethical, and societal challenges of building M-CELS. In the past few years, significant research advances have been made, paving the way for more practical conversations around issues such as regulation, public engagement, and manufacturing. A primary goal of this event will be to build capacity for societally-responsible M-CELS research and translation by convening targeted conversations around existing and entirely new applications, design principles, manufacture, ethics, policy, communication, diversity, manufacturing, and regulation. We anticipate that participation in the workshop will lead to cross-disciplinary collaborations among attendees and a shared understanding of the path forward for M-CELS.


Confirmed speakers:

  • Adam Feinberg, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Anjelica Gonzalez, Yale
  • Beth Pruitt, UCSB
  • Bruce Tromberg, NIBIB
  • Carolyn Johnson, Washington Post
  • Chris Austin, NCATS
  • Danilo Tagle, NCATS
  • Dave Rampulla, NIBIB
  • David Sittenfeld, Museum of Science, Boston
  • Don Ort, UIUC
  • Fred Kronz, NSF
  • Hemmie Chang, Foley Hoag
  • Insoo Hyun, Harvard
  • Jianping Fu, University of Michigan
  • Jose Lebron, Merck
  • Joseph Wu, Stanford
  • June Medford, Colorado State University
  • Kaiming Ye, SUNY Binghamton
  • Kevin Esvelt, MIT
  • Kit Parker, Harvard
  • Kyung Sung, FDA
  • Leah Ceccarelli, University of Washington
  • Mahmud Farooque, ASU
  • Maribel Vazquez, Rutgers University
  • Mary Maxon, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs
  • Matthew Sample, McGill
  • Megan Palmer, Stanford
  • Melissa Kemp, Georgia Tech
  • Michael Helmrath, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
  • Nas Zahir, NCI
  • Natalie Kuldell, BioBuilder/MIT
  • Nita Farahany, Duke
  • Paul Sheehan, DARPA
  • Pep Pamies, Editor, Nature Biomedical Engineering
  • Peter Marks, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA
  • Rashid Bashir, UIUC
  • Richardae Araojo, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, FDA
  • Ritu Raman, MIT
  • Robert Mulroy, Partner Therapeutics
  • Roger Kamm, MIT
  • Ron Weiss, MIT
  • Rosemarie Hunziker, Connexon Life Sciences Consulting
  • Sheng Lin-Gibson, NIST
  • Shobita Parthasarathy, University of Michigan
  • Silvia Velasco, Broad Institute
  • Sohi Rastegar, NSF
  • Sung Jin Park, Emory
  • Todd McDevitt, Gladstone Institutes
  • Tom Bollenbach, ARMI
  • Valerie Gouon-Evans, BU
  • Wei Sun, Tsinghua University

Featuring sessions on:

  • Human health and well-being
  • Regulatory policy, equity, and standardization
  • Manufacturing
  • Public engagement
  • Clinical translation
  • Ethical and societal issues
  • Breakthrough technologies
  • Emergence, cell population behavior, and biosecurity
  • Communication strategies
  • Organoids, developmental biology, and moral considerability
  • Workforce training
  • Biological robotics, sensors, and devices
  • Bioeconomy, tech transfer, equity, IP, and competitiveness
  • The Federal perspective on M-CELS research
  • Applications beyond health: plants, insects, and agriculture