The Biology team is building devices to sustain life in space, and to use life to accomplish missions in space. They’re currently working on building a DNA synthesizer for microgravity, which will be the first device to synthesize DNA in space. If successful, DNA synthesis in space could enable on-site genetic engineering, allowing the production of medicines, food, and essential raw materials in space.

Team Leads

Cynthia Hao

[email protected]

Alan Tomusiak

[email protected]

Pushing the Frontier

The Biology team aims to tackle some of the most exciting and challenging aspects of space exploration-creating and sustaining life in space. Biology in space has several facets: synthetic biology for terraforming technologies, on-site resource utilization, maintaining human health in space, and waste recycling in order to “close the loop” of resource consumption in space. Biology Team is looking for members interested in developing experience in synthetic biology, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, fluidics and material science.


Our current project is to construct a portable, automated DNA synthesizer which will serve as a platform technology for all future synthetic biology projects of the team. DNA synthesis is a critical first step in on-site genetic engineering, which could help enable long term human spaceflight missions to Mars. The BIOS (Biology In Outer Space) project is developing a method to use very small amounts (on the order of microliters) of biological reagents to create any desired oligonucleotide. This project will draw from a number of skillsets, ranging from synthetic biology and fluidics to mechatronics and signal processing.