Standard Grant: Synthetic Cells and Rules of Life in Historical, Philosophical, and Social Contexts

Project: Research project

Project Details


Standard Grant: Synthetic Cells and Rules of Life in Historical, Philosophical, and Social Contexts Standard Grant: Synthetic Cells and Rules of Life in Historical, Philosophical, and Social Contexts As part of the subcontract the Laubichler Lab at ASU will perform the following work as described below. This work will be primarily carried out by one graduate student and one undergraduate student worker (see budget justification) under the supervision of co-PI Manfred Laubichler. Both students will also have access to experts in the Laubichler Lab, who will be available to advise on best practices and to troubleshoot computational methods. 1. Develop a corpus of literature on synthesizing cells (work-package 2 of the proposal): This work involves searching relevant databases, such as Web of Science, Pubmed Central, Google Scholar, etc., for the scientific literature on work on synthesizing cells. This involves developing a set of search criteria based on concepts and techniques that can be used to query these databases. Comparable work on different projects in the Laubichler lab suggest that we will end up with a corpus of 25 to 50K papers. The PI and the graduate student will develop the search criteria and the undergraduate student will obtain the collection following protocols developed in the Laubichler lab. 2. Prepare the corpus for computational analysis: Next the corpus will have to be prepared for computational analysis. For this the Laubichler lab has developed standardized protocols that include standardization of metadata, elimination of duplicates, disambiguation of authors and conversion of full text files into text files. Many of these tasks are automated but require supervision. Both the undergraduate and graduate student will contribute to this work. 3. Computational analysis of the corpus: We will then perform a computational analysis of the whole corpus. Following previous work on a number of case studies we will analyze both social networks (co-authorship, co-citation, geographic and institutional analysis) and conceptual networks (based on computational linguistic tools) as well as map these two kinds of networks onto each other. We will create timeseries of conceptual and methodological developments as well as perform cluster analysis in order to map the diversity of ideas and approaches. Special emphasis will be placed on the question of where innovation is happing within attempts to synthesize cells. Another focus will be on understanding the links between synthetic cell research and other domains of biological inquiry, such as artificial live or the origin of life. This work will be performed by the graduate student under the supervision of the PI. 4. The final part will be to synthesize our insights and to curate our collection and the results of our analysis for others to use (see also Data Management Plan). The graduate student and the PI will perform these tasks.
Effective start/end date8/1/207/31/22


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $45,827.00


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