Cell-free SystemsThe Center for Synthetic Biology aims to transform biochemical engineering with cell-free biology. Cell-free biology activates basic cellular processes (e.g., translation) without live intact cells. Cell-free systems provide an unprecedented and otherwise unattainable freedom of design to modify and control biological systems. While historically used only for research, this approach transforms crude cell lysates into “factories” with commercial potential for making pharmaceutical proteins and biomolecules. Just as organic chemistry once revolutionized the ability of chemists to build unseen molecules following a basic set of design rules, this new paradigm will enable a deeper understanding of why nature’s designs work as they do, and open the way to novel therapeutics, sustainable chemicals, and new materials that have been impractical, if not impossible, to produce by other means.