Biocatalyst parts evaluation and pathway refactoring for synthetic drug manufacture

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Chemistry


The project is concerned with the need to develop sustainable manufacturing platforms for the production of high value therapeutic compounds using synthetic biology. The focus here is on cannibinoids and related compounds, which are attractive targets for therapy in a growing number of long term disease states (e.g. multiple sclerosis and the control of uncontrolled muscle spasms). There is a growing market for tightly regulated and pure forms of cannabinoids for this purpose. Synthetic biology platforms now provide the opportunity to develop manufacturing pipelines for cannabinoid production in suitable host strains for the purposes of sustainable synthesis. The project will make use of our existing terpene platforms to support the synthesis of the new target compounds and the refactoring of new metabolic pathways using synthetic biology approaches from existing and newly sourced genes that encode biocatalytic parts.
The project involves the detailed structural, biocatalytic and enzymological characterisation of biocatalytic parts and pathways for these compounds using the highly automated synthetic biology platforms available in the Manchester Synthetic Biology Centre (SYNBIOCHEM). The candidate will work on the biochemical and structural and engineering aspects of enzymes involved in the synthesis of these compounds and the assembly of multiple pathways and regulatory tools for their biosynthesis.
The student will develop expertise in protein production, structural biology, biocatalysis, mutagenesis and contemporary synthetic biology approaches in building metabolic pathways for chemicals production.


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Description Manchester institute of biotechnology open day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Around 175 AS and A level students attended an open day at the Manchester institute of biotechnology where they had guided tours and given demonstrations of the forms of research performed at the institute. This Gave them the opportunity to gain an insight into what scientific research entails at higher education institutions and the opportunity to ask current PhD students question about their own research and the various routes that can be taken to start a career in academic research. The aim of this outreach event was to give the students a new perspective of scientists which may differ from what they previously thought.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018