Imperial College London

Professor Kitney

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Bioengineering

Professor of BioMedical Systems Engineering



+44 (0)20 7594 6226r.kitney Website




Ms Tania Briggs +44 (0)20 7594 6226




3.16Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus




Synthetic Biology - LS3-SB


 Background & Aims: The advent of the molecular biology age in the 1970s was brought about by the ability to construct recombinant DNA molecules. This has completely revolutionised biology and enabled the development of ‘synthetic biology’, where new gene arrangements can be constructed and evaluated. This has been tremendously successful, leading to a wide range of biotechnological applications. However, the engineering of useful synthetic biological systems is still undertaken on an individual ad hoc basis, which is expensive and inefficient. Synthetic biology as a discipline is now attempting to apply the principles of engineering and develop foundation technologies that make the design and construction of engineered biological systems easier, facilitating future development in biotechnology. This course will explore the challenges, problems and approaches to engineering biological systems. 




Synthetic Biology - BE3-HSYNB


To introduce students to the principles of genetic engineering, synthetic biology and the design of biological machines.



Journal Club - BE9-MJCLUB



The aim of the course is for students to read and discuss key journal articles relevent to the course

By the end of the course, students will be able to

  • Read journal articles and extract the important information
  • Do a critical presentation regarding a journal article
  • Understand the structure and writing style of high impact journal articles

Two or three papers will be reviewed each week and all papers are available on Blackboard. Members of the group review the papers in their freetime so that at the session they will be able to review the assigned papers.

One person from the group will give a short (10 minutes) summary and critique of the paper allocated (mostly in highlighting the novelty and all the good points of the paper – will be the “for” person for this paper), while another person of the group will try to identify all the shortcomings of the paper and what they authors could have done to improve it (will be the “against” person for this paper).

This is then repeated for the second (and third) paper.

So, in total each week at least four people are presenting (2 for and 2 against). The rest of the group should read the papers and participate in the discussion.



  • To introduce methods how to present and discuss important papers in the field of biomechanics
  • To introduce methods for presenting data to an interested audience
  • To introduce methodsto write an assay of key papers in the field of biomechanics

Medical Physics

  • To introduce students to journal papers and how to read and critique them



The journal club helps students to develop two key skills: to read research papers and to develop critical thinking. 

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Read journal articles and extract important information.
  • Summarise and critically review journal articles.