Engineering Biology for Cancer Applications


NCI and NIBIB have issued a new funding opportunity, “Collaborative Approaches to Engineer Biology for Cancer Applications (U01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)” – RFA-CA-20-054. The RFA solicits applications that develop and apply innovative synthetic biology approaches to address challenges across the continuum of cancer research. Projects will be required to define an important cancer research question and then approach that question with a synthetic biology technology, based on an adapted biological system that can sense input, apply logic to determine a response to the input, and initiate a response. The emphasis is on both the significance of the cancer research question and the innovation and potential of the technical approach. Transdisciplinary teams with expertise in cancer research and engineering or other disciplines relevant to synthetic biology are expected.

The goal of the FOA is to support synthetic biology approaches for cancer research that will expand technology development, promote transdisciplinary partnerships, and spur new efforts to advance mechanistic understanding of cancer and possibilities for cancer management.

Letters of Intent Due: December 16, 2020

Projects Awarded

PI Name(s) Institution(s) Project Title
Gabriel Kwong, Peng Qiu Georgia Tech AND-gated Synthetic Biomarkers for Early Detection of Liver Metastasis
Wendell Lim, Hana El-Samad UCSF Synthetic circuits that drive infiltration of therapeutic T cells into immunologically cold tumors
Justin Pritchard Penn State Personalization and Failure Testing of Dual Switch Gene Drives in Lung Cancer
Ron Weiss, Yizhou Dong, Darrell Irvine MIT, Ohio State Immunotherapy via engineered therapeutic programs in tumors using RNA
Wilson Wong, Yolonda Colson, Mark Grinstaff Boston University, Mass General Precise tumor targeting with logic CAR circuits
Amir Zarrinpar UCSD Engineering Native E. coli to Detect, Report, and Treat Colorectal Cancer