Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Research Associate (Synthetic Biology)







Sir Ernst Chain BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





My PhD research, at the University of Bristol, was in the area of fungal genetics and molecular biology. During my studies, I isolated novel secondary metabolites from basidiomycete fungi and elucidated the genetic pathways underpinning biosynthesis. 

I then moved into the field of synthetic biology with a postdoctoral position at Newcastle University working on cell-free protein synthesis systems. In this work, I used Design of Experiments to explore the large and multifactorial design spaces associated with cell-free reactions, with the specific goal of optimising cell-free systems to embed within hydrogel matrices, to produce biologically-responsive materials. This technology has applications in rapidly prototyping genetic circuits and in the development of biological sensors and diagnostic devices.

I joined the Jimenez Group in 2020 to work as a postdoctoral researcher as part of the MIPLACE consortium. This research involved engineering environmentally-isolated bacteria and microbial communities to degrade and up-cycle polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for use as a microbial feedstock in the synthesis of products with added value. I am now part of the BIOSYSMO consortium employing a synthetic biology approach to the bioremediation of mixed pollutants in soils and ground water.

I am also involved in the supervision of undergraduate and MRes research projects, and I have taken part in iGEM as an advisor, supervisor and judge.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Kavil S, Laverick A, Whitfield CJ, et al., 2023, Methods for embedding cell-free protein synthesis reactions in macro-scale hydrogels, Journal of Visualized Experiments, ISSN:1940-087X, Pages:1-14

Dvorak P, Galvao TC, Pflueger-Grau K, et al., 2023, Water potential governs the effector specificity of the transcriptional regulator XylR of Pseudomonas putida, Environmental Microbiology, Vol:25, ISSN:1462-2912, Pages:1041-1054

Banks AM, Whitfield CJ, Brown SR, et al., 2022, Key reaction components affect the kinetics and performance robustness of cell-free protein synthesis reactions, Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, Vol:20, ISSN:2001-0370, Pages:218-229

Whitfield CJ, Banks AM, Dura G, et al., 2020, Cell-free protein synthesis in hydrogel materials, Chemical Communications, Vol:56, ISSN:1359-7345, Pages:7108-7111

Banks AM, Song L, Challis GL, et al., 2020, Bovistol B, bovistol D and strossmayerin: Sesquiterpene metabolites from the culture filtrate of the basidiomycete Coprinopsis strossmayeri, PLOS One, Vol:15, ISSN:1932-6203, Pages:1-9

Banks AM, Aminuddin F, Williams K, et al., 2019, Genome sequence of lecanicillium fungicola 150-1, the causal agent of dry bubble disease, Microbiology Resource Announcements, Vol:8, ISSN:2576-098X, Pages:1-2

Banks AM, Barker GLA, Bailey AM, et al., 2017, Draft genome sequence of the coprinoid mushroom coprinopsis strossmayeri, Genome Announcements, Vol:5, ISSN:2169-8287, Pages:1-2

de Mattos-Shipley KMJ, Ford KL, Alberti F, et al., 2016, The good, the bad and the tasty: The many roles of mushrooms, Studies in Mycology, Vol:85, ISSN:0166-0616, Pages:125-157

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