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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 = {Webb, AJ and Kelwick, R and Doenhoff, MJ and Kylilis, N and MacDonald, J and Wen, KY and Mckeown, C and Baldwin, G and Ellis, T and Jensen, K and Freemont, PS},
doi = {10.1038/srep24725},
journal = {Scientific Reports},
title = {A protease-based biosensor for the detection of schistosome cercariae},
url = {},
volume = {6},
year = {2016}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Parasitic diseases affect millions of people worldwide, causing debilitating illnesses anddeath. Rapid and cost-effective approaches to detect parasites are needed, especially inresource-limited settings. A common signature of parasitic diseases is the release of specificproteases by the parasites at multiple stages during their life cycles. To this end, weengineered several modular Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis whole-cell-basedbiosensors which incorporate an interchangeable protease recognition motif into theirdesigns. Herein, we describe how several of our engineered biosensors have been applied todetect the presence and activity of elastase, an enzyme released by the cercarial larvae stageof Schistosoma mansoni. Collectively, S. mansoni and several other schistosomes areresponsible for the infection of an estimated 200 million people worldwide. Since ourbiosensors are maintained in lyophilised cells, they could be applied for the detection of S.mansoni and other parasites in settings without reliable cold chain access.
AU - Webb,AJ
AU - Kelwick,R
AU - Doenhoff,MJ
AU - Kylilis,N
AU - MacDonald,J
AU - Wen,KY
AU - Mckeown,C
AU - Baldwin,G
AU - Ellis,T
AU - Jensen,K
AU - Freemont,PS
DO - 10.1038/srep24725
PY - 2016///
SN - 2045-2322
TI - A protease-based biosensor for the detection of schistosome cercariae
T2 - Scientific Reports
UR -
UR -
VL - 6
ER -