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Synthetic Biology underpins advances in the bioeconomy

Biological systems - including the simplest cells - exhibit a broad range of functions to thrive in their environment. Research in the Imperial College Centre for Synthetic Biology is focused on the possibility of engineering the underlying biochemical processes to solve many of the challenges facing society, from healthcare to sustainable energy. In particular, we model, analyse, design and build biological and biochemical systems in living cells and/or in cell extracts, both exploring and enhancing the engineering potential of biology. 

As part of our research we develop novel methods to accelerate the celebrated Design-Build-Test-Learn synthetic biology cycle. As such research in the Centre for Synthetic Biology highly multi- and interdisciplinary covering computational modelling and machine learning approaches; automated platform development and genetic circuit engineering ; multi-cellular and multi-organismal interactions, including gene drive and genome engineering; metabolic engineering; in vitro/cell-free synthetic biology; engineered phages and directed evolution; and biomimetics, biomaterials and biological engineering.

Publications

Citation

BibTex format

@unpublished{Kylilis:2018:10.1101/411637,
author = {Kylilis, N and Riangrungroj, P and Lai, H-E and Salema, V and Fernandez, LA and Stan, G-B and Freemont, P and Polizzi, K},
doi = {10.1101/411637},
publisher = {American Chemical Society},
title = {A low-cost biological agglutination assay for medical diagnostic applications},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/411637},
year = {2018}
}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

TY  - UNPB
AB - Affordable, easy-to-use diagnostic tests that can be readily deployed for point-of-care (POC) testing are key in addressing challenges in the diagnosis of medical conditions and for improving global health in general. Ideally, POC diagnostic tests should be highly selective for the biomarker, user-friendly, have a flexible design architecture and a low cost of production. Here we developed a novel agglutination assay based on whole E. coli cells surface-displaying nanobodies which bind selectively to a target protein analyte. As a proof-of-concept, we show the feasibility of this design as a new diagnostic platform by the detection of a model analyte at nanomolar concentrations. Moreover, we show that the design architecture is flexible by building assays optimized to detect a range of model analyte concentrations supported using straight-forward design rules and a mathematical model. Finally, we re-engineer E. coli cells for the detection of a medically relevant biomarker by the display of two different antibodies against the human fibrinogen and demonstrate a detection limit as low as 10 pM in diluted human plasma. Overall, we demonstrate that our agglutination technology fulfills the requirement of POC testing by combining low-cost nanobody production, customizable detection range and low detection limits. This technology has the potential to produce affordable diagnostics for both field-testing in the developing world, emergency or disaster relief sites as well as routine medical testing and personalized medicine.
AU - Kylilis,N
AU - Riangrungroj,P
AU - Lai,H-E
AU - Salema,V
AU - Fernandez,LA
AU - Stan,G-B
AU - Freemont,P
AU - Polizzi,K
DO - 10.1101/411637
PB - American Chemical Society
PY - 2018///
TI - A low-cost biological agglutination assay for medical diagnostic applications
UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/411637
UR - http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/70984
ER -