Synthetic Extremophiles: Cellular bionics for extreme conditions

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Chemistry

Abstract

helping organisms to survive in their ecological niches. Such adaptations can be structural,
behavioural or physiological. In the case of extremophiles this trait extends to enabling life to thrive
in forbidding environments that were once not thought to be able to sustain life: from extremes of
pressure all the way through to extremes of temperature. This studentship aims for the first time to
generate biological-synthetic hybrid systems that are capable of surviving extremes of pressure
(equivalent to being at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest ocean point in the world;
>1000atm)-synthetic extremophiles. By fusing living and non-living systems we will generate
ensembles that are able to modify their composition and make-up in response to external changes
in hydrostatic pressure. This has the potential to transform our understanding of how molecular
components come together to introduce emergent behaviour. In addition, it will lead to the
manufacture of biological components that are ideally suited to a wide range of industrial, bio technical and consumer applications where performance under extreme conditions and the
capability to respond to extreme operating conditions are fundamental prerequisites.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023518/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2028
2281778 Studentship EP/S023518/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2022 Giulia Mignini Urdaneta