NSF Center for Genetically Encoded Materials

Repurposing the translational apparatus to establish a fundamentally new form of chemical matter–sequence-defined chemical polymers

C-GEM. Transforming the very fabric of society.

Our mission

C-GEM is establishing a fundamentally new way to program chemical matter and transform the way scientists design and produce materials and medicines. Using computation and experiment, C-GEM is repurposing nature’s protein synthesizing machine–the ribosome and its associated translation factors–to biosynthesize genetically encoded, sequence-defined chemical polymers with unprecedented functions and activities. Our combined activities span the fields of chemical biology, synthetic biology, synthetic chemistry, structural biology, computational biology, and molecular biology, and are highly collaborative. To catalyze these efforts, C-GEM implemented GEM-NET, a sophisticated data management system to promote data sharing within and outside the team, and with industry, the NSF, and the public. By fostering innovation at the chemical-biology-materials frontier, C-GEM is establishing a diverse chemical workforce, perfecting the integration of research with training, and captivating scientists and non-scientists alike.

Latest News

New paper: genetic code expansion with high yield and exceptional fidelity

Genetic code expansion has tremendous potential to revolutionize peptide, protein, and protein-like therapeutics through the strategic substitution of non-canonical amino acids – or even more exotic…

C-GEM helps UC Berkeley sponsored research funding reach $1 billion

Read more from Berkeley News:

C-GEM’s inaugural Summer Research Program wraps!

Congratulations to C-GEM’s first-ever cohort of summer research students! These eight women spent their summer working with graduate students and postdocs on virtual research projects, which you…

C-GEM students recognized by NSF GRFP

A big congratulations to Schepartz lab graduate student Cameron Swenson and Cate lab rotation student Kristina Boyko on their honorable mentions in this year’s NSF Graduate Research Fellowship P…

Congrats, C-GEM Graduates!

A warm congratulations to Fred Ward and Zoe Watson who completed their PhDs in the Cate lab at UC Berkeley this past year. Check out some of their thesis work below:

Leah Roe named Hertz Finalist

Congratulations to Schepartz Lab graduate student Leah Roe for being named a finalist for the 2021 Hertz Foundation graduate fellowship! Leah completed her undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellul…

Solve puzzles for science.

Eterna is a scientific discovery game created by C-GEM Senior Investigator Rhiju Das. Rhiju has built EteRNA into a massive open laboratory to design molecular medicines, get feedback from real experiments at Stanford’s School of Medicine, and turn findings into scientific publications.