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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.



BibTex format

author = {Anderson, J and Strelkowa, N and Stan, G-B and Douglas, T and Savulescu, J and Barahona, M and Papachristodoulou, A},
doi = {10.1038/embor.2012.81},
journal = {EMBO Reports},
pages = {584--590},
title = {Engineering and ethical perspectives in synthetic biology},
url = {},
volume = {13},
year = {2012}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Synthetic biology has emerged as an exciting and promising new research field, garnering significant attention from both the scientific community and the general public. This interest results from a variety of striking features: synthetic biology is a truly interdisciplinary field that engages biologists, mathematicians, physicists and engineers; its research focus is applied; and it has enormous potential to harness the power of biology to provide scientific and engineering solutions to a wide range of problems and challenges that plague humanity. However, the power of synthetic biology to engineer organisms with custommade functionality requires that researchers and society use this power safely and responsibly, in particular when it comes to releasing organisms into the environment. This creates new challenges for both the design of such organisms and the regulatory process governing their creation and use.
AU - Anderson,J
AU - Strelkowa,N
AU - Stan,G-B
AU - Douglas,T
AU - Savulescu,J
AU - Barahona,M
AU - Papachristodoulou,A
DO - 10.1038/embor.2012.81
EP - 590
PY - 2012///
SN - 1469-221X
SP - 584
TI - Engineering and ethical perspectives in synthetic biology
T2 - EMBO Reports
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 13
ER -