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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 = {Awan, AR and Shaw, WM and Ellis, T},
doi = {10.1016/j.addr.2016.04.010},
journal = {Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews},
pages = {96--106},
title = {Biosynthesis of therapeutic natural products using synthetic biology},
url = {},
volume = {105},
year = {2016}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Natural products are a group of bioactive structurally diverse chemicals produced by microorganisms and plants. These molecules and their derivatives have contributed to over a third of the therapeutic drugs produced in the last century. However, over the last few decades traditional drug discovery pipelines from natural products have become far less productive and far more expensive. One recent development with promise to combat this trend is the application of synthetic biology to therapeutic natural product biosynthesis. Synthetic biology is a young discipline with roots in systems biology, genetic engineering, and metabolic engineering. In this review, we discuss the use of synthetic biology to engineer improved yields of existing therapeutic natural products. We further describe the use of synthetic biology to combine and express natural product biosynthetic genes in unprecedented ways, and how this holds promise for opening up completely new avenues for drug discovery and production.
AU - Awan,AR
AU - Shaw,WM
AU - Ellis,T
DO - 10.1016/j.addr.2016.04.010
EP - 106
PY - 2016///
SN - 1872-8294
SP - 96
TI - Biosynthesis of therapeutic natural products using synthetic biology
T2 - Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews
UR -
UR -
VL - 105
ER -