In Illinois, new company, LifeFoundry, is utilizing synthetic biology and robotics to conduct research and development for biotech companies. LifeFoundry, which is part of the National Science Foundation iCorps, integrates engineering with the latest technology to offer companies a better and quicker methodology. For example, they helped fermentation companies create large bacteria collections with specific mutations quickly and cost effectively. Several large fermentation companies have already approached LifeFoundry to work with them showing a positive sign that this new company is off to a strong start.
How did Ran Chao, LifeFoundry’s CEO and co-founder, come up with the idea? While working on his PhD program modifying the genomes of yeast for biofuel, he realized human error causes huge delays in research. He used his chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering background to automate and use robotics to minimize human error and realized other companies could greatly improve their R&D with his automated methodologies.