Dr. Albert Keung

Dr. Albert Keung

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Phone: 919-515-8992
Instructor Website

CHE 596 608 Synthetic Biology

3 Credit Hours

This course is an introduction to the field of Synthetic Biology. The purpose is to provide a broad overview of the field for those interested in understanding the historical foundation, modern tools, applications, and related fields that Synthetic Biology has a potential for impact on. Other major objectives are on developing skills to critical read primary literature, and to formulate creative and rigorous research projects.


A basic understanding of what cells and DNA are and a familiarity with basic single variable calculus is recommended.

Course Objectives

1) Refresh students on the basic principles of molecular and cellular biology.
2) Understand how quantitative approaches have been used to describe molecular enzyme kinetics, proof-reading and
error correction in biological polymer, robustness of biological systems, and cell population dynamics in the contexts
of antibiotic resistant bacteria and cancer.
3) Understand the systems-biology principles underlying noise, oscillations, toggle-switches, pattern formation, and
other emergent properties. Become familiar with the pioneering work engineering these properties synthetically into
4) Develop working knowledge of modern high throughput and efficient DNA assembly and cellular engineering
5) Develop an understanding of the broad application areas of synthetic biology including cell-based cancer
immunotherapy, gene drives, and metabolic engineering.
6) Understand the career opportunities in the synthetic biology arena.
7) Develop critical reading skills to rigorously analyze primary literature.
8) Develop proposal writing and project-planning skills. Have an actual proposal that could be submitted to the NIH to support student’s future PhD work.


Homework 30%
Research Proposal 30%
Proposal critiques 20%
Paper critiques 20%

Computer and Software Requirements

Please review minimum computer specifications recommended by NC State University and Engineering Online.

Updated 7/8/2020


Fall 2022 Coming Soon