“The ability to program biology could enable fundamental breakthroughs across a broad range of industries, including medicine
. It could also lay the foundation for a future bioeconomy
based on sustainable technology. Despite this potential, programming biology today is still done largely by trial-and-error. To tackle this challenge, the field of synthetic biology
is working collectively to develop methods and technology for programming biology more systematically. Station B is part of this broader effort, with a focus on developing an integrated platform for programming biology, to enable selected partners to improve productivity within their own organisations, in line with Microsoft’s core mission
. The name Station B is inspired by Station Q
, which launched Microsoft’s efforts in quantum computing
, where Station B focuses instead on biological computing. The Station B platform is being developed at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK, which houses Microsoft’s first molecular biology laboratory. The platform aims to improve all phases of the Design-Build-Test-Learn workflow typically used for programming biology. Station B is a collaborative effort being carried out with selected technology, academic and commercial partners.
We are currently focusing on two main abstractions: programming genetic circuits that function in living cells and programming nucleic acid circuits that perform information processing.