The BIOFAB is developing a range of services that will be offered to academic and industrial users. These offerings include the following:
- Electronic Datasheets
- Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
- Standards Development & Testing
- Human Practices in Practice
- Rapid Prototyping
The BIOFAB is developing electronic datasheets that describe the physical characteristics of key sets of biological parts in human- and machine-readable formats. The BIOFAB electronic datasheets contain information similar to the datasheets described by Canton, et al (Nature Biotechnology, 2008, figure on the right). Electronic datasheets enable engineers developing higher-level systems to use the BIOFAB's libraries of standard biological parts.
Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
Users are able to use BIOFAB software tools to more efficiently design and construct new biological parts. For example, the Multiple RNA Folding web application predicts and displays the folds of RNA sequences. We are also developing Clotho BIOFAB Edition which is a CAD tool based on Clotho. Clotho BIOFAB Edition is an integration platform for CAD algorithms under development at the BIOFAB, academic laboratories, and by industrial partners.
Standards Development & Testing
Once fully operational the BIOFAB will be capable of producing of thousands of professionally engineered, high quality standard biological parts each year. The BIOFAB's open membership architecture and position at the intersection universities, companies, and non-profits will help to encourage the development of measurement standards driven by community needs. Ultimately, users will be able to ask the BIOFAB to test composition schemes and help to develop architectures for controlling genetic expression (see also the C. Dog project).
Human Practices in Practice
To the extent that it achieves its goals, the BIOFAB will cause changes in economic, social, and legal domains. The Human Practices project within BIOFAB poses and reposes the question of whether and how the BIOFAB can shape those changes for the benefit of our world. Gaymon Bennett (UC Berkeley) is leading this effort, which involves both observing the scientific and organizational practices of the Biofab directors and technicians, as well as contributing that observational analysis as a participating member of the Biofab’s team. The project is producing a history of fab development and infrastructure, as well as technical processes such as part production and distribution.
The BIOFAB will provide users with the ability to rapidly prototype their biological designs using the facilities tools and standard parts. This will enable smaller scale laboratories to benefit from BIOFAB's resources and infrastructure in much the same way that MOSIS has enabled integrated circuit prototyping for businesses, government agencies and universities. BIOFAB users will be able to order a vector or a strain.