Synthetic Biology: Development and Application Cellular Computation Devices

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Chemistry


Synthetic biology seeks to design and integrate novel devices, parts and tools for the predictive engineering of biological systems, and the field offers great hope for the rationalization of strain development for biotechnological and biomedical applications. Synthetic gene circuits can also be used to perform various logic functions to permit cellular computation, including toggle switches, Boolean logic gates, edge detection, analogue to digital signal conversion, memory, and simple addition and subtraction.The aim of this research project is to use these guiding principles to develop tools and devices (biosensors and cellular computers) for the optimization of biotechnological production process for a range of applications including biofuels, (bio)chemicals, enzymes, and biopharmaceuticals.

This research project will engineer cells with computational capacity to sense and respond to metabolic and environmental signals and to develop tools for both system monitoring and intervention. This capacity has a number of applications for low-level signal detection, precise threshold detection, and enhanced digital to analogue signal conversion, for the optimization of biotechnological processes. This project will be supported by in-house expertise and technologies including use of riboswitches, SpeedyGenes, and aptamer array technology.

The PhD student will be trained in broad aspects of synthetic biology, analytical biotechnology and computational modelling; skills that are highly relevant for future careers in academia and/or biotechnology related industries. They will additionally have the opportunity to interact with industrial collaborations, attend meetings/conferences, and to broaden their academic and industry networks/contacts.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011208/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1618786 Studentship BB/M011208/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2019 Ross Kent
Description Improved function and sequence context sensitivity of RNA mediated genetic regulation toolkit
Exploitation Route Tool development, available for use by other research groups
Sectors Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology