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Michael Elowitz studies the design principles underlying molecular circuits of interacting genes and proteins within mammalian cells. These circuits allow cells to process information, communicate with one another, recall past events, and make critical decisions. To understand how specific circuit designs enable these capabilities, Elowitz and his team take a “build to understand” approach, engineering new synthetic circuits and rewiring natural ones. Major focus areas of the team’s work include the functional roles of stochasticity and combinatorial regulation, and approaches for analyzing circuit dynamics in individual cells. Ultimately, they aim to discover principles that will enable predictable control of cellular behaviors and provide a foundation for future programmable circuit-based therapeutics.