BrisSynBio: Bristol Centre for Synthetic Biology

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Chemistry

Abstract

Synthetic biology is a new scientific discipline that aims to make the engineering of biological systems easier, more predictable and more reliable. Synthetic biologists aim to develop new techniques, technologies and reagents that will allow biological or biologically based products to be made easily, quickly and cheaply, and in sufficient quantities to make them useful. Advances in this area have the potential to provide us with new fuels, materials, diagnostics and medicines, and offer solutions to many of the major global challenges that we face today. For example providing sufficient food for the world's population and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

For synthetic biology to meet these challenges, however, will require the concerted efforts of large groups of scientists working together in teams combining their expertise, skills and knowledge. To achieve this we aim to establish BrisSynBio (BSB), a Bristol-based Synthetic Biology Research Centre, which will bring together a group of scientists from a range of different research backgrounds, e.g. biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering and robotics, mathematics and physics.

BSB researchers will combine their expertise in such a way that global challenges can be met and resolved. Examples of the type of work that BSB scientists will carry out include: modifying biosynthetic pathways in microorganisms such to produce new antibiotics; assembling virus-like particles to present new routes to vaccines; building simple cells from scratch for use in the production of important but sometimes toxic chemicals; using red blood cells to deliver complex molecules like anti-cancer drugs directly to tumours; and reprograming bacteria to perform useful tasks like sensing environmental pollutants.

Within the BSB, researchers will be organised into teams with complementary skills who will work together on these challenging projects. There will be lots of communication between the teams, and new and exciting research will emerge as a result. Teams will be linked together by cross-cutting themes to promote interdisciplinarity and exchange of ideas. To help foster and develop interactions further, BSB academics will attend monthly discussion meetings, and all BSB academics and researchers will attend monthly research seminars and an annual 2-day regional symposium.

The University of Bristol has recently invested heavily in new buildings and laboratory space, perfect for housing BSB. Now we need further investment to purchase the essential equipment that we will need to underpin and progress our research, and also to attract more scientists to expand synthetic-biology activities. We will also work in collaboration with a range of different project partners including researchers form around the world, the public and policy makers, and industrialists, such that we can maximise the impact of BrisSynBio.

Finally, synthetic biology is not without controversy, the notion of tinkering with biology and life does not sit comfortably with everyone. Therefore, it is very important that all BrisSynBio members are trained to consider the ethical, legal and social implications of their work, placing it in a broader societal context. To achieve this BSB members will be trained in responsible innovation and public engagement, and encouraged to put these new skills into practice through commercialising their work where appropriate, and at 6-monthly science cafes and public dialogues.

Technical Summary

The overarching goal of BrisSynBio will be to provide an intellectual and technical framework for innovative and collaborative research, facilitated by cutting-edge instrumentation. The focus will be on world-class fundamental science leading to transformative solutions to meet global challenges in healthcare, food security, and industrial biotechnology.

BSB comprises 21 Core and >20 Associate Members, organised in 3 Research Strands and 3 Cross-cutting Themes that reflect Bristol strengths, and the potential for growth in synthetic biology both locally and nationally. Across these, initial BSB activity will progress 9 multidisciplinary synergy projects. The Associate Membership will be expanded to broaden BSB's research base for future diversification and development of new projects. BSB support staff and fellows would be co-located in the new University of Bristol Life Sciences Building.

Over 5 years, BSB will support ~15 synthetic-biology synergy projects. Those outlined here account for ~2/3 of the funds requested, leaving ~1/3 for new projects. To ensure delivery on these and to enable future programmes, BSB research will be underpinned by existing and requested major facilities, e.g.: high-throughput liquid-handling robotics, NMR spectroscopy, and peptide synthesis; and high-performance computing. For added value and best practice, the new equipment would be co-located with existing equipment in Research Suites across 3 Faculties.

To build the synthetic-biology community, locally and regionally, BSB will establish research meetings, seminars and an annual symposium. BSB outreach activities would include: public engagement; training for research staff in public engagement and responsible innovation; and fostering links with local and national industry and SMEs. BSB would work closely with our partner South West universities; the Imperial-led IKC in Synthetic Biology; the Bristol-Oxford-Warwick CDT; and other Synthetic Biology Research Centres

Planned Impact

1. TRAINING
BrisSynBio will recruit the most-promising early career researchers to its PDRA and Fellowship positions. Through its multidisciplinary projects, seminar programmes, outreach activities and courses, BSB will train them thoroughly in all aspects of synthetic biology. In addition, we will establish workshops and summer schools in allied synthetic-biology methods to provide training nationally. In this way, BSB will respond directly to the Roadmap recommendation "to build a skilled, energised synthetic biology community".

2. EXCHANGE OF SKILLS AND NEW WAYS OF WORKING
Synthetic biology is a multidisciplinary subject, combing the life and physical sciences with engineering and modelling to improve design and engineering of biological systems. BSB will provide an exemplar to promote this new way of working. Its structure-with Research Strands, Themes and meetings-will facilitate this, allowing researchers to exchange ideas freely, and to develop new materials and methods together quickly to tackle ambitious and challenging research problems. Specifically, all projects will be undertaken by teams involving: multiple PIs and PDRAs working towards a common goal; both physical and life scientists; input from mathematical and/or molecular modelling; and be overseen by engineering "mentors".

3. EXPLOITATION
The above vision will naturally lead to projects diversifying in directions not envisaged from the outset. This will be managed by PIs and researchers to avoid projects becoming diffuse. This approach also brings with it new opportunities, for example leading to IP and consequently possibilities for licensing, spin outs, and entrepreneurship. Whilst we do not anticipate all projects leading to commercialisation, those that do will be supported fully through the Research and Enterprise Division, the Severnside Alliance for Translational Research, the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health, and links that we will foster with industry and SMEs. We will also use BSB as a mechanism to develop a synthetic-biology industrial hub to spark translation in a region that has a relatively low number of start-up and SMEs.

4. OUTREACH TO OTHER SYNTHETIC-BIOLOGY SCIENTISTS AND CENTRES
We envisage that the above will also benefit researchers and academics outside the BSB developing synthetic-biology programmes; similarly, we are keen to learn best practice from others. In addition to attendance at academic conferences nationally and overseas, BSB will use the following to reach out to other academics and industrialists to exchange these ideas:

(i) The PI, Woolfson, and Co-Is are already linked in to other UK synthetic-biology researchers through conferences and the previously funded Synthetic Biology Networks (Woolfson headed one of these). We will use these as a basis for cementing old links and fostering new ones.

(ii) Bristol is a partner in the recently funded, Imperial-led IKC in Synthetic Biology (SynbiCITE). This will be particularly useful for seeking out and developing industrial and SME partners for exploiting and translating BSB research findings.

(iii) Bristol is an equal partner with Oxford and Warwick in a CDT (Centre for Doctoral Training) bid submitted to EPSRC. If funded, this will facilitate links between academics, the exchange of ideas and people, and the development of joint projects with the two other institutes.

(iv) Finally, the BSB Annual Symposium will provide a hub for activity in synthetic biology in the South West.

5. GENERAL OUTREACH AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT
Through the Synthetic Components Network and the Centre for Public Engagement, Bristol has been exemplary in public engagement in synthetic biology: it has hosted or contributed to science cafes, public lectures, live webcasts, the Public Dialogue, and the training of early career scientists in this area. It will build these activities through 6-monthly public dialogue events, with partners such as Explore@Bristol and ThinkTank.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title BrisSynBio illustration 
Description Illustrative prepresentation of BrisSynBio by local Bristol illustrator and street artist Andy Council. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact None yet. 
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/brissynbio/
 
Title Grace Mullally PIP 
Description As part of her PIP, Grace Mullally is working with Claudia Stocker at Vivid Biology, and is organising a collaborative scientist-artist partnership to result in exhibited artworks. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact None as yet 
 
Description Key findings will be reported upon completion of the research programmes.
Exploitation Route NA
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description Influencing policy: Bristol leads on, and is well represented in policy and agenda setting at the national and international levels. For example, Woolfson was part of a coordination group convened by the Rt Hons D Willetts MP and V Cable MP that published A Synthetic Biology Roadmap for the UK in 2012; Boyce, Race, Sedgley and Woolfson contributed to the follow-up policy document UK Synthetic Biology Strategic Plan 2016 - Biodesign for the Bioeconomy; Woolfson sits on a committee that reports directly to the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council, and has presented to the Parliament and Scientific Committee. Boyce led the development of the ERASynBio Strategic Vision, laying the groundwork for synthetic-biology policy development in several EU countries. With NHS Blood and Transplant, Toye contributes to the UK strategy to increase provision of red blood cells for patients. Edwards co-authored the first paper on standards for plant synthetic biology, and works with biotechnology providers on wheat breeding process. Innovation: Race has filed patents to underpin BrisSynBio's first spin-out, Zentraxa, to produce difficult-to-synthesize peptides. Toye is exploring patents around engineering red blood cells, and Edwards has an industrial collaboration to explore ways to jointly commercialise plant-transformation technologies. Internationalisation: The excellence of BrisSynBio's synthetic-biology research, training and outputs are already attracting international attention. Most recently, BrisSynBio co-hosted and co-organised Colston Research Symposium in Synthetic Biology, with a programme of international world-leaders including from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (Barcelona, Spain), Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution (Florida, USA), J Craig Venter Institute (USA), the Max Planck Society (Germany), and NASA (USA). Post-graduate training: Grierson is Bristol Director of the RC-funded SynBioCDT. This is the only dedicated synthetic biology doctoral training programme in the world. The training is intense, interdisciplinary and innovative. The CDT recruits ˜15 students pa, ˜5 of which come to UoB. Student's backgrounds range from aero- and chemical engineering, through chemistry, biochemistry to biology. The CDT has a global reach, with the 2015/16 applicants coming from 28 universities and 11 countries. It has a growing list of industrial partners, and, so far, 44% of Bristol students have done projects with an industrial partner. Bristol has already gained 6 additional SynBioCDT-associated students who benefit from the parts of the course. Public engagement: There is a huge breadth of, and enthusiasm for public engagement across BrisSynBio for example: BrisSynBio investigators and PDRAs have taken part in Soapbox Science in Bristol and London; taken a SynBio stand-up show to Pint of Science and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; participated in Einstein's Garden at the Green Man Festival; contributed to a children's television programme (Operation Ouch!); collaborated on a BBC radio play on illegal organ trafficking; and hosted a University Research Committee Interdisciplinary Student to explore public perceptions of synthetic biology. The recent Colston public lecture from NASA scientist Lynn Rothschild filled the Great Hall in the Wills Memorial Building. Responsible research and innovation: Toye and Kent are exploring the ethical implications, commercial and public acceptability of engineered red blood cells. Learning from our Europe-wide partnerships in SYNENERGENE is informing our approach to tackling RRI implications in research.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Biodesign for the bioeconomy: UK Synthetic Biology strategic plan 2016
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact This strategic plan, published by the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC), aims to accelerate the commercialisation of synthetic biology products and services with clear public benefit, building upon the strength of the UK research base. It focuses on five key areas of strategic importance: Accelerating industrialisation and commercialisation Maximising the capability of the innovation pipeline Building an expert workforce Developing a supportive business environment, and Building value from national and international partnerships.
URL https://connect.innovateuk.org/documents/2826135/31405930/BioDesign+for+the+Bioeconomy+2016+-+DIGITA...
 
Description Nuffield Council on Bioethics: Genome editing call for evidence (Meacham)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact Genome editing techniques such as the CRISPR-Cas9 system are transforming many areas of biological research. The techniques have been embraced with enthusiasm by many researchers but have also provoked debate about possible future uses, including in human germ line modification, ecological engineering, and novel plant breeding. This project is being carried out in stages considering first the impact of genome editing in research and the range of questions to which this gives rise, and then developing practical ethical guidance for specific field(s) of application.
URL http://nuffieldbioethics.org/project/genome-editing/
 
Description Nuffield Council on Bioethics: Naturalness report (Meacham)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact When people describe something as natural, they might mean it is good, acceptable, safe or healthy. When something is described as unnatural, people can mean it is bad, unacceptable or dangerous. Views about what is natural or unnatural can affect the development and uptake of new technologies. This project examined how ideas about naturalness feature in and affect public discussions about the ethics of science, technology and medicine. The recommendations aim to improve communication and understanding between people with different views about naturalness.
URL http://nuffieldbioethics.org/project/naturalness/
 
Description BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship (van der Kamp)
Amount £1,015,015 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/M026280/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 12/2015 
End 11/2020
 
Description BBSRC GCRF: Natural product discovery and exploitation in Thailand (Race)
Amount £19,850 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2016 
End 02/2017
 
Description BBSRC IPC CASE award with Syngenta (Willis)
Amount £96,696 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/P504804/1 
Organisation Syngenta 
Sector Public
Country Global
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2020
 
Description BBSRC International Workshop: MaxSynBio bilateral (Mann)
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2018
 
Description BBSRC LoLa (Scrutton, Mulholland, vd Kamp)
Amount
Funding ID BB/M000354/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2015 
End 04/2020
 
Description BBSRC Responsive Mode (Collinson)
Amount £214,036 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/N015126/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2016 
End 11/2018
 
Description BBSRC Responsive Mode (Collinson)
Amount £349,679 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/M003604/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2014 
End 02/2018
 
Description BBSRC SLoLa (Edwards)
Amount £3,600,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/N002628/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2016 
End 12/2020
 
Description BBSRC Tools and Resources Development Fund (Collinson)
Amount £547,203 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/M012107/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2014 
End 10/2015
 
Description BBSRC responsive mode (Anderson)
Amount £474,945 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/M02315X/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2015 
End 11/2018
 
Description Colston Research Society Symposium in Synthetic Biology
Amount £7,000 (GBP)
Organisation Colston Research Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2016 
End 11/2016
 
Description Defence and Security PhD call 2015 Synthetic Biology to Produce Novel Materials for Defence and Security (Trask / Perriman)
Amount £544,000 (GBP)
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2015 
End 10/2019
 
Description Dstl: Diels-Alderase based stimulous responsive self-healing materials (Race)
Amount £117,077 (GBP)
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 09/2016 
End 06/2017
 
Description EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account 2016/17: Commercialisation of a novel peptide manufacturing platform (Race)
Amount £15,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Bristol 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 08/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account 2016/17: Innovation Programme (Race)
Amount £25,752 (GBP)
Organisation University of Bristol 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 08/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description EPSRC Institutional Sponsorship Award 2016/17: Bacterial-bot (Gorochowski)
Amount £41,596 (GBP)
Organisation University of Bristol 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 09/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description EPSRC Institutional Sponsorship Award 2016/17: SynBio VR (Glowacki)
Amount £43,272 (GBP)
Organisation University of Bristol 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 08/2016 
End 09/2017
 
Description EPSRC Research Software Engineer Fellowship (Woods)
Amount £487,166 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N018591/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 07/2016 
End 07/2021
 
Description EPSRC Responsive Mode (Perriman)
Amount £357,292 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N026586/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 05/2016 
End 07/2019
 
Description EPSRC/GSK Industrial CASE studentship (Mann)
Amount £75,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2014 
End 04/2018
 
Description EU Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowships (Mann)
Amount € 137,200 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 05/2015 
End 05/2017
 
Description European Commission FP7 collaboration (Berger)
Amount € 5,233,492 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 11/2014 
End 11/2017
 
Description GSK collaboration (Enzyme - SAGEs)
Amount £120,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 100038043 
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 05/2014 
End 11/2015
 
Description GSK collaboration (Enzyme - SAGEs): Extension
Amount £117,000 (GBP)
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 06/2016 
End 07/2017
 
Description IB Catalyst
Amount £247,085 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 04/2015 
End 03/2016
 
Description Innovation and Knowledge Centre in Synthetic Biology (Co-I on application)
Amount £5,074,187 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L011573/1 
Organisation SynbiCITE 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2013 
End 09/2018
 
Description MRC AMR (Bailey)
Amount £2,500,000 (GBP)
Funding ID MR/N029909/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 06/2016 
End 05/2020
 
Description MRC Confidence in Concepts Award
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Funding ID MRC MC_PC_15041 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Department MRC Confidence in Concept Scheme
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 09/2016 
End 08/2017
 
Description MRC New Investigator Research Grant (Marucci)
Amount £518,777 (GBP)
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 06/2016 
End 05/2019
 
Description National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Unit (Toye)
Amount £3,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Department NIHR Biomedical Research Centre
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2015 
End 10/2020
 
Description Next generation DNA synthesis (Race)
Amount £2,219,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/M025624/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 02/2015 
End 02/2016
 
Description Research Project Grant
Amount £140,582 (GBP)
Funding ID RPG-2016-147 
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2019
 
Description Specialist Research Institute: Bristol BioDesign Institute
Amount £45,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Bristol 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2017 
End 07/2019
 
Description SynbiCITE poof of concept award
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L011573/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 12/2014 
End 05/2015
 
Description Synthetic Biology Centre for Doctoral Training (Co-I)
Amount £4,705,815 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L016494/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 04/2014 
End 09/2022
 
Description Synthetic biology for growth: SynBio CDT equipment (Co-I)
Amount £134,262 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/J013501/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 07/2014 
End 12/2014
 
Description University of Bristol EPSRC Institutional Support Award
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Bristol 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 09/2015 
End 03/2016
 
Description UoB BBSRC IAA GCRF: Bristol - Thailand Vaccine technology development (Davidson)
Amount £24,220 (GBP)
Organisation University of Bristol 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description UoB International Strategic Fund: MaxSynBio bilateral (Mann)
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Bristol 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2018
 
Description Wellcome Investigator Award (Collinson)
Amount £1,506,091 (GBP)
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2014 
End 09/2020
 
Description Wellcome Multi-User Equipment: CryoEM (Schaffitzel)
Amount £2,314,580 (GBP)
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 09/2016 
End 08/2021
 
Description BrisSynBio - Bruker 
Organisation Bruker Corporation
Country United States of America 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Expected contribution will include access to the BrisSynBio 700MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometer fitted 1.7mm cryogenically coiled RF probe optimised for ultra low sample volumes.
Collaborator Contribution Cash contribution of £80,000 in exchange for obsolete NMR equipment and for access to the BrisSynBio NMR instrument In kind contribution of 10 days per year for five years enabling access to Bruker NMR specialist scientists and factory development groups.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2014
 
Description BrisSynBio - GSK 
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Expected contribution is academic discovery and intellectual input in the field of pharmaceutics.
Collaborator Contribution Access to in house screening for anti-microbials via the GSK Open Lab facility in Tres Cantos GSK will have board position on the BrisSynBio Scientific Advisory Board
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2014
 
Description BrisSynBio - IEU 
Organisation University of Bristol
Department MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expected contribution is academic collaboration and intellectual input in the field of Nuclear Magnetic Resonsnce technology and technology development. The IEU have a high-throughput NMR instrument for metabolomic studies which will be located adjacent to the BrisSynBio NMR instrument. Access to the BrisSynBio NMR instrument.
Collaborator Contribution Cash contribution of £7500 towards the purchase of the BrisSynBio NMR instrument.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2014
 
Description BrisSynBio - Syngenta 
Organisation Syngenta
Country Global 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Expected contribution is academic discovery and intellectual input in the field of agri-chemicals.
Collaborator Contribution Input into BrisSynBio via contribution to the Scientific Advisory Board and attendance at other BrisSynBio scientific meetings (4 staff days per year for five years) Access to platform of in vitro and whole organism screens for novel compounds via the Centre for Agrochemical Activity Hosting of student and researcher visits Access to conference facilities for a joint BrisSynBio - Syngenta meeting
Impact None yet
Start Year 2014
 
Description BrisSynBio - UCB Celltech 
Organisation UCB Pharma
Department UCB Celltech
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Expected contribution includes academic discovery and intellectual input to the development of innovate technologies to positively impact on the progression of UCB drug discovery projects. Access to the BrisSynBio NMR instrument.
Collaborator Contribution Cash contribution of £100,000 towards the purchase of a 700MHz Nuclear Magnetic resonance spectrometer equipped with a 1.7mm cryogenically coiled RF probe optimised for ultra low sample volumes.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Reconstitution of peptidoglycan transport through AmpG with Dr Patrick Moynihan 
Organisation University of Birmingham
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution WE are reconstituting nano reactors for reconstitution and monitoring the transport of peptidoglycan through the transporter AmpG
Collaborator Contribution Provision of expertise and substrates fro transport (native and derivatives)
Impact Not yet
Start Year 2016
 
Description The Bacterial Sec Machinery with Dr Andrew Woodland 
Organisation University of Dundee
Department Drug Discovery Unit
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of samples and expertise for measurement of ATP driven protein transport through the bacterial Sec machinery
Collaborator Contribution Expertise for high-throughput analysis and exposure to large small chemical libraries to search fro potent inhibitors (potential anti-bacterial)
Impact Work in progress
Start Year 2012
 
Description Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research Newcastle UK 
Organisation Newcastle University
Department Mitochondrial Research Group
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Upon discovery of mitochondrial editing tools we will collaborate with the Newcastle group to use in primary cells.
Collaborator Contribution Supply/availability of primary cells
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2016
 
Description 'Dynamic Cell' Interactive Experience (Einsteins Garden, Green Man Music Festival, August 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Dynamic Cell was an immersive experience exploring complex cellular processes. The project was a collaboration between University of Bristol scientists, a puppet-maker and performers. It was produced by Einstein's Garden for Green Man Festival, 2016.

In the festival programme Dynamic Cell was described as follows: Experience the alien world of a cell: a weird, constantly transforming landscape of fascinating complex processes on a microscopic scale. Journey through this bizarre environment then join cell biologists to uncover the secrets of life by measuring, modelling and manipulating the cell.

During the 3-day festival, the Dynamic Cell experience was open for approximately 6 hours each day. Visitors to the cell were invited to enter the cell with a small group to experience the complexity of the cellular environment, illustrated by a short puppet show. Particular themes in represented in the cell included: the central dogma (DNA-RNA-protein, transcription, translation etc.); protein folding; the DNA damage response; genome editing. In particular, one element of Dynamic Cell was an interactive set of 'CRISPR gloves' which were a talking point around which conversations about genome engineering, and in some cases mitochondrial genome engineering, took place.

Dynamic Cell will be redelivered in the South West in the summer of 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://einsteinsgarden.net/portfolio/dynamic-cell/
 
Description 6th form symposium King's College Taunton: Do Scientists dream of Synthetic sheep? (Heal) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact In collaboration with colleagues from other two other local independent schools in Taunton, King's College hosted a chemistry symposium for lower 6th pupils. Dr Jack Heal performed his stand up comedy show "Do Scientists dream of Synthetic sheep?", alongide other invited speakers.
Purpose: To get the Chemists of the future enthused about science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description BBSRC PR: Designer barrel proteins 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Science publication, Computational design of water-soluble a-helical barrels [Science 24 October 2014: Vol. 346 no. 6208 pp. 485-488 DOI: 10.1126/science.1257452] was publicised on the BBSRC news page.

Unknown.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/industrial-biotechnology/2014/141024-pr-bristol-team-creates-barrel-prot...
 
Description BioIndustry Association SynBio special interest group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact BrisSynBio invited attendance at the BioIndustry Association Synthetic Biology special interest group in May 2014. This group comprises SMEs, big business (including GSK and Syngenta) and and venture capitalists allied to synthetic biology.
The meeting was also attended by the three Synthetic Biology Research Centres and SynBiCITE.

Unknown.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.bioindustry.org/advisory-committees/synthetic-biology-advisory-committee-sbac/
 
Description Bright club Southampton: Do Scientists dream of Synthetic Sheep? (Heal) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Jack Heal performs his stand up comedy show "Do Scientists dream of Synthetic sheep?" as the headline act at Bright Club, Southampton.
Bright Club is a comedy night with researchers attempting to perform comedy about their work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.southampton.ac.uk/per/university/bright-club.page
 
Description ERASynBio workshop of the European Synthetic Biology Centres 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The key results of this activity were to inspire and feed further ERASynBio developments and recommendations to the European Commission.

None yet
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.erasynbio.eu/
 
Description Gene editing workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop speakers:
John Dupré, Director of the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society, University of Exeter: Responsible Research and Innovation in the field of gene editing
Sabine Gokolok, Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh: TALENS and gene editing in mammalian cells
Lorenz Mayr, Vice President & Global Head, Biological reagents & Assay Development, AstraZeneca: CRISPR / Cas9
Nicola Paton, Head of Synthetic Biology, Sainsbury Laboratory: Gene editing in plants
Workshop format: The morning consisted of talks from the above. We then asked our speakers to tell us about their difficulties and challenges in gene editing as well as their successes. This was followed by an open format during the afternoon where attendees had the opportunity to discuss techniques with the speakers. A small number of commercial suppliers also attended to demonstrate products and trouble shoot.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Gloucestershire college: Do Scientists dream of Synthetic Sheep? (Heal) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talk/discussion to Biology students on the Access to Higher Education Course. Dr Jack Heal performs his stand up comedy show "Do Scientists dream of Synthetic sheep?".
The audience will be students on an Access to Higher Education Course which is a one year course for adults without A Levels who wish to go to university. Most of them are intending to enter health professions.
The show coincides with one of the lessons on the Biology course. All Biology students were invited to attend.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Invited talk at the 2014 Gordon Research Conference on Tetrapyrroles (Rhode Island) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I presented the work from my grant at the GRC tetrapyrroles meeting in Rhode Island in the summer of 2014. This was attended by many leading researchers in the heme and tetrapyrrole-containing protein field and represented an excellent opportunity to publicise my work amongst my peers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.grc.org/programs.aspx?id=12064
 
Description Invited talk at the 67th Mosbacher Kolloquium (Protein design - from first principles to biomedical applications) in Mosbach, Germany 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I presented my work at an international conference focussed on protein design, including all of the key founders and current leaders of the field. This resulted in many stimulating conversations with my peers and the scientific leaders in protein design and helped to promote the work of my group and the work performed in the grant.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cbic.201600256/abstract?systemMessage=Pay+per+view+articl...
 
Description Panel Discussion (Bristol) "Synthetic Biology: Microbes, Plants and People" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact "Exper panel" discussion on Synthetic Biology, based on questions and discussion from a non-specialist audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Parliamentary Science Committee presentation 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Approximately 200 people attended the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee meeting on the 17th June 2014. The audience included Parliamentarians, members of scientific bodies, science-based industry and academics.
http://www.scienceinparliament.org.uk/sample-page/programme/
This meeting has subsequently been written up and included in the Autumn 2014 Science in Parliament (Vol 71 No 4: pgs 20 - 26) publication.

Unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.scienceinparliament.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Autumn-Contents-page.pdf
 
Description Pint of Science Festival: Dark side of protein science 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the Pint of Science Festival, researchers from BrisSynBio participated in the 'Dark Matters' event. The event was held in Friska café, Bristol, and involved scientific crafts and discussions between researchers and the public.
Director of BrisSynBio, Professor Dek Woolfson, along with Gail Bartlett, Jack Heal, Drew Thomson and Chris Wood organised the event 'Dark Matters'. Analogous to the idea of dark matter, protein science focuses on the protein structures that could theoretically exist but are not present in natural biology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/publicengagementstories/stories/2015/dark-side-protein-science.html
 
Description Public Engagement talk, Science controversy talk at the Smoke and Mirrors Pub, Bristol, 6th July 2016, Designer Babies and the use of gene editing, British Science Association 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public understanding of science lecture in a local pub on designer babies and the future role of gene editing, including some interactive sessions to prompt discussion. Extensive discussion and opinion on the pros and cons of such technology
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Public lecture (University of Bristol) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public lecture to approx 200-300 people. Sparked interest in science, and discussion afterwards
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description RCUK workshop on DNA synthesis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Following the first phase of DNA Synthesis investments earlier in 2014, BBSRC, on behalf of the Research Councils, hosted a one day workshop to discuss mechanisms for implementing the second phase of capital investment (approximately £8M) for precompetitive DNA synthesis research/capabilities. The purpose of the capital money is to create a 'national capability' in DNA synthesis which will support the long term growth of UK synthetic biology.
Attendees were required to complete a questionnaire in advance of the workshop identifying the (up to) five biggest research challenges for the next generation of DNA synthesis and the barriers to a coordinated state-of -the-art national capability. At the workshop attendees further considered what capability is already available and therefore what the existing requirements and bottlenecks for a UK capability are.
The key outcome of the activity was the generation of a small number of short strategic cases for capital investment. These are currently being reviewed by BBSRC.
Representatives from the private sector were also present at the workshop and it is anticipated that they will work closely with the academic community in the development of technologies that tackle challenges that underpin the next generation of DNA synthesis, but also in bringing the technologies/ capabilities developed closer to market/ into wider use.

Long term there will be tangible impacts generated from the instruments purchased via this award if successful. The impact is likely to be mainly in the academic and industrial spheres, and in the areas of fine and speciality chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and life science technologies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description RSC: Synthetic Biology: The Free Edinburgh Festival Fringe Show (Heal) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Supported by an award from the Royal Society of Chemistry,the Edinburgh Fringe Festival hosted its first science stand-up on the subject of synthetic biology. Jack Heal's 'Do Scientists Dream of Synthetic Sheep?' show took a comedic approach to genome engineering, de-extinction and more - with the crowd helping to shape its direction with questions and discussion. The show considered questions from artificial life to Jurassic Park, and ran for 21 days.
Purpose: To interest the public in science.
Outcome: The comic felt freshly enthused about doing [synthetic biology] research.
Reflection: Free shows encourage people to take risks in their choices of which shows to see. This spirit is perfect for science outreach events which have to try hard to avoid becoming 'by scientists, for scientists'.

None yet.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/publicengagementstories/stories/2016/jack-heal.html?platform=hootsuite
 
Description SBLC SBRC subgroup 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Accepted membership of the BIS commissioned Synthetic Biology Leadership Committee, Synthetic Biology Research Centre sub group. The first meeting of this group took place on May 2014. This was attended by the following:
Jim Hasslehoff, Cambridge
Nigel Minton, Nottingham
John Ward, UCL
Paul Freemont, Imperial
Dick Kitney (chair), Imperial
John Collins, Imperial
Paul Race, BrisSynBio Bristol
Anne Osbourn, John Innes Centre
Kathleen Sedgley, BrisSynBio Bristol

The purpose of this meeting was to share information about the three SBRCs and SynBiCITE to feed up to BIS via the SBLC. This will be an ongoing activity.

Unknown.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description School Visit (Caldicott School) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talk attended by ~ 40 year 12 and 13 students at Caldicott School, which sparked questions and discussion afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Schools Visit (Warminster School) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussion.

Positive feedback from staff and pupils.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Science Cafe: Lab grown blood becomes a reality (Toye) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact BrisSynBio researchers are growing blood in the laboratory; work that will have potentially profound effects for patients needing regular transfusions, or rare types of donated blood in the future. This Science Café on blood production was presented by a panel of experts including Professor David Anstee from the NHS Blood Service and biochemists Dr Ashley Toye, BrisSynBio, and Dr Jan Frayne from Bristol University.
Outcome: Attendees learnt how scientists aim to use this blood to study rare diseases, engineer new therapeutic qualities by using synthetic biology, and offer an alternative to patients with certain conditions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Synthetic Biology Research Centres Ethical Legal and Social Aspects meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact This was a BBSRC hosted one-day ELSA workshop for the SBRC grant holders to ensure they incorporate appropriate and meaningful ELSA consideration into their Centres. Additionally the workshop networked the SBRCs and the broader synthetic biology community including the EPSRC-BBSRC synthetic biology CDT.
The main results of the activity were to share the ELSA plans across the SBRCs, exploration of strengths and challenges. Joint publications between SynBio researchers and social scientists will be a measurable metric of success in this for the SBRCs.

None yet
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description The value of naturalness in the age of marvelous technologies (Meacham) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact On 16 April 2015, BrisSynBio hosted a public debate at Bristol's Watershed Arts Centre on the "value of naturalness in the age of marvelous technologies." Sir Roland Jackson from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, Professor Alison Assiter from UWE, Bristol, Professor Nima Yeganefar from the Université de Poitiers and a lively audience discussed and debated in the role of the concepts of "nature" and "naturalness" in ethical and political discourse surrounding emerging biotechnologies. The event was organised and chaired by Darian Meacham.

Sir Roland Jackson blogged about the event: http://nuffieldbioethics.org/blog/2015/why-do-we-value-naturalness-a-lively-discussion/

The debate was sponsored by UWE's Social Science in the City, The Royal Institute of Philosophy in collaboration with the Bristol Festival of Ideas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rk25Fl4ajEY
 
Description Tools and Developments for DNA Synthesis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact BrisSynBio attendance at a SynBiCITE hosted workshop jointly organised by Thermo Fisher Scientific, which incorporates Life Technologies and gene Art.

Early stage discussions initiates with Gene Art around the use of their technologies throughout BrisSynBio and longer term development projects. Meeting planned for early 2015.
Early stage discussions initiated with Midven venture capitalists about potential investment opportunities arising from BrisSynBio. Meeting planned for December 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description UCL Chemical and Physical Society evening talk: Do Scientists dream of Synthetic sheep? (Heal) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Jack Heal performed his stand up comedy show "Do Scientists dream of Synthetic sheep?" to UCL Chemical and Physical Society. CPS was founded in 1876 and is believed to be the oldest scientific student body in the country. It is run predominantly by students and hosts lectures weekly throughout term time as well as organising many other events for students and staff throughout the year. The lecture programme has a general science remit and our audience mainly comprises staff and students of the chemistry department (as well as a growing cohort of natural science students) and members of SCI London, who sponsor the society.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description University of Bristol Open Days 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact One-to-one discussions with members of the public about our research, biochemical sciences generally, and other aspects of University study.

It is difficult to report specific impacts. I have no doubt that the discussions influenced the life choices of many of the young people that I spoke with.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007,2008,2009,2010,2011