Strategic Areas of Focus

Biology by Design

Recent advances in biological sciences and engineering have transformed biology from a discipline that relied on observation and experimentation to one in which knowledge creation and engineering are based on “reading” DNA, RNA, proteins (systems biology) and “editing and writing” genes and genomes (synthetic biology). The integration of these advances with developments in computing, automation, and artificial intelligence will significantly impact all
aspects of our lives by enabling a “bio-economy” (estimated at $4T/year) with an unprecedented ability to respond to global challenges from climate change to pandemics.

Given biology’s central role in the human condition and its underpinning of not only health and biomedical research but many other disciplines, Biology by Design provides a tremendous opportunity to better understand the processes that sustain life and enable biological innovation with broader impacts including environmental preservation, energy and materials, food supply, agriculture, health, data storage and computing, ethics, and policy. This unprecedented breadth would serve to promote campus-wide collaboration
and strengthening cross-disciplinary programs allowing for improved national standing and opportunities for areas traditionally outside biology to widen research applications.

Leveraging current strengths and infrastructure, USF is well-positioned to play a leading role and capture the benefits of the biological revolution while simultaneously contributing to the advancement of biological sciences, dissemination of fundamental knowledge, increasing collaboration and diversity and training the next generation of leaders in this field. The Biology by Design strategic area of focus will create a network of networks by leveraging existing pockets of excellence in centers and institutes such as Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Institute of Applied Engineering, Center for Entrepreneurship, Center for Molecular Diversity in Drug Design, Discovery and Development, Nanotechnology Research and Education Center. This will strengthen USF and Florida’s role in the national and global bio-economy. Our strategic location and partnerships with organizations such as the Tampa !P, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, St. Pete Innovation District and BioFlorida allow for advanced research and innovation at the confluence of biological and information systems.