Organiser, Metabolic and Network Engineering. (Undergraduate)
Topics in Biotechnology - LIFE95016
Topics in Biotechnology provides a theoretical and practical grounding in modern biotechnology. Biotechnology is introduced in a historical context, and by comparison with synthetic chemistry as the main ‘competing technology’. Although biotechnology is an applied discipline, it depends upon the underpinning sciences of biochemistry and molecular biology. This principle is apparent in the 'Exploiting Metabolism' lecture series, which through several examples links fundamental understanding of metabolic systems to their exploitation in applications. In biotechnology, the design and troubleshooting of studies and experiments is arguably more open-ended than in other biological sciences, and more similar to engineering, as biotechnology principally involves the development and optimisation of non-natural biological systems rather than elucidating the function of natural biological systems. The course introduces this style of research, and provides students with the opportunity to experience it first-hand through a mini-project including laboratory practicals and associated workshops.
Metabolic and Network Engineering - LIFE96023
Firstly, the aim of the course is to introduce students to the theory and methodology that is used to engineer biology for an applied objective. Secondly, the aim is for students to appreciate (in part through direct experience) the challenges involved in the design, engineering and evaluation of biocatalytic systems. Thirdly, students will learn about the challenges and opportunities related to using engineered biology for commercial industrial application through direct discussions with representatives of industry and entrepreneurship. The course focuses on two distinct sub-fields of biological engineering, the micro-level pathway/catalyst (metabolic engineering) and the macro-level whole-cell system (network engineering).
- Understand key factors that control metabolism and gene networks
- Know what tool/method to choose in order to achieve engineering objective and analyze/predict its outcome
- Design alternative strategies to overcome engineering challenges
- Understand factors that limit commercial use of engineered microorganisms
- Research and present a strategy to convert an idea into a biotechnological business