Dr Tom Ellis is a Reader leading research in synthetic biology and synthetic genome engineering in the Department of Bioengineering. He has track record in synthetic biology, being author of over 25 publications in synthetic biology including work in Nature Methods, Nature Biotechnology, PNAS and Nature Reviews. He is leader of the UK-funded project to build a synthetic yeast chromosome for the international synthetic yeast project (Sc2.0). He co-leads the teaching of Imperial’s synthetic biology undergraduate module and has won multiple awards for teaching and for supervision of 4 of the UK’s most successful iGEM teams. His research focuses on developing the foundational tools for accelerating, automating and scaling design-led synthetic biology, focusing on research projects in yeast (S. cerevisiae) and E. coli model organisms, as well as industrially relevant microbes such as Acetobacter, Geobacillus and Bacillus.
For more information about Dr Ellis and his lab, please visit the Tom Ellis Lab Webpage
Tom’s research publications can be found at Google Scholar
Dr Ellis obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Michael J. Waring in 2004, examining drugs that bind directly to the promoter elements of cancer genes. Dr Ellis followed-up his PhD research at a the biotech company Spirogen where he set-up a biological screening unit and developed high-throughput assays to characterise the interactions between drugs and oncogene promoters.
Dr Ellis returned to academic research in 2006 to spend two years investigating synthetic biology at Boston University, USA. Working in one of the founding groups of the field under the supervision of Jim Collins, Dr Ellis devised a synthesis-based library approach to engineering gene regulatory networks and was able to model and implement this method in nonlinear systems and with phenotypes relevant to biofuel and beer production.
In 2009 before joining Imperial College, Dr Ellis returned to the UK to research synthetic biology at the Institute of Biotechnology at University of Cambridge.
Dr Ellis''s main research interests are:
- synthetic biology
- genome engineering
- the function of DNA sequence
- programming biosynthesis of materials and therapeutics
et al., 2017, Extracellular Self-Assembly of Functional and Tunable Protein Conjugates from Bacillus subtilis., Acs Synth Biol
et al., 2016, Engineering control of bacterial cellulose production using a genetic toolkit and a new cellulose-producing strain, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:113, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:E3431-E3440
et al., 2015, Bricks and blueprints: methods and standards for DNA assembly, Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, Vol:16, ISSN:1471-0072, Pages:568-576
et al., 2015, Quantifying cellular capacity identifies gene expression designs with reduced burden, Nature Methods, Vol:12, ISSN:1548-7091, Pages:415-+
Jovicevic D, Blount BA, Ellis T, 2014, Total synthesis of a eukaryotic chromosome: Redesigning and SCRaMbLE-ing yeast, Bioessays, Vol:36, ISSN:0265-9247, Pages:855-860