Towards an integrated closed-loop autotrophic biomanufacturing plant for deep space

The Center for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space (CUBES) was created to develop generalizable approaches to support biomanufacturing for deep space exploration that realizes the inherent mass, power, and volume advantages of space biotechnology over traditional abiotic approaches. We seek to develop nearly closed-loop processes that can use regenerable in situ resources to produce food, pharmaceuticals, and materials to support small colonies of people in resource-poor and extreme environments like deep space. CUBES is specifically focused on developing such a plant for a crewed mission to Mars. However, we are mindful of the applications both for a lunar base and for application right here on earth.

In this center, for which Arkin is the Director and Berliner is the “majordomo”, we specifically work (collaboratively) on model-driven mission specification and process optimization, synthetic biology and production engineering of biopolymer and pharmaceutical producing microbes, and microbial community engineering for optimizing plant productivity and environmental resiliency.

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Selected Publications

Berliner, Aaron; Makrygiorgos, George; Hill, Avery

Extension of Equivalent System Mass for Human Exploration Missions on Mars Journal Article

In:, 2021.

Links | BibTeX

Yongao Xiong Matthew J. McNulty, Kevin Yates

Molecular Pharming to Support Human Life on the Moon, Mars, and Beyond Journal Article

In: Preprints, 2020.

Links | BibTeX

Berliner, Aaron; Hilzinger, Jacob M; Abel, Anthony J; McNulty, Matthew; Makrygiorgos, George; Averesch, Nils J H; Gupta, Soumyajit Sen; Benvenuti, Alexander; Caddell, Daniel; Cestellos-Blanco, Stefano

Towards a Biomanufactory on Mars Journal Article

In:, 2020.

Links | BibTeX

Abel, Anthony J; Hilzinger, Jacob M; Arkin, Adam P; Clark, Douglas S

Systems-informed genome mining for electroautotrophic microbial production Journal Article

In: bioRxiv, 2020.