Autodesk has been researching generative design for a few years now. In studying how it applies to biology, our team has found that this methodology is actually already being used in synthetic biology, both in academia and in industry.
How? A biologist starts with a set of high level objectives such as maximizing the production of a particular molecule or minimizing sugar consumption. Since computer simulation is not yet available for most metabolic processes the designs have to be manufactured and then measured to determine their fitness against the objectives. The biologist iteratively creates different strains of organisms until they find a solution acceptable for full-scale production.
The BioNano group is working on software to streamline this process and help scientists find their strains faster and more efficiently.
Recently we published an article about this topic in TechCrunch.
Malte Tinnus is a Senior Principal UX Designer at Autodesk Life Sciences, collaborating with world leading researchers to envision the paradigms and tools needed to understand and exploit the intersection of design and life.