Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Research Associate



+44 (0)20 7594 5366r.bradley




Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

9 results found

Bradley RW, Buck M, Wang B, 2016, Recognizing and engineering digital-like logic gates and switches in gene regulatory networks, Current Opinion in Microbiology, Vol: 33, Pages: 74-82, ISSN: 1879-0364

A central aim of synthetic biology is to build organisms that can perform useful activities in response to specified conditions. The digital computing paradigm which has proved so successful in electrical engineering is being mapped to synthetic biological systems to allow them to make such decisions. However, stochastic molecular processes have graded input-output functions, thus, bioengineers must select those with desirable characteristics and refine their transfer functions to build logic gates with digital-like switching behaviour. Recent efforts in genome mining and the development of programmable RNA-based switches, especially CRISPRi, have greatly increased the number of parts available to synthetic biologists. Improvements to the digital characteristics of these parts are required to enable robust predictable design of deeply layered logic circuits.


Bradley RW, Buck M, Wang B, 2015, Tools and principles for microbial gene circuit engineering., Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol: 428, Pages: 862-888, ISSN: 1089-8638

Synthetic biologists aim to construct novel genetic circuits with useful applications through rational design and forward engineering. Given the complexity of signal processing that occurs in natural biological systems, engineered microbes have the potential to perform a wide range of desirable tasks that require sophisticated computation and control. Realising this goal will require accurate predictive design of complex synthetic gene circuits and accompanying large sets of quality modular and orthogonal genetic parts. Here we present a current overview of the versatile components and tools available for engineering gene circuits in microbes, including recently developed RNA-based tools that possess large dynamic ranges and can be easily programmed. We introduce design principles that enable robust and scalable circuit performance such as insulating a gene circuit against unwanted interactions with its context, and we describe efficient strategies for rapidly identifying and correcting causes of failure and fine-tuning circuit characteristics.


Bradley R, Wang B, 2015, Designer cell signal processing circuits for biotechnology, New Biotechnology, ISSN: 1871-6784

Microorganisms are able to respond effectively to diverse signals from their environment and internal metabolism because they possess a sophisticated information processing capacity. A central aim of synthetic biology is to control and reprogramme the signal processing pathways within living cells so as to realise repurposed, beneficial applications ranging from disease diagnosis and environmental sensing to chemical bioproduction. Up to now most examples of synthetic biological signal processing have been built based on digital information flow, though analogue computing is being developed to cope with more complex operations and larger sets of variables. Great progress has been made in expanding the categories of characterised biological components that can be used for cellular signal manipulation, thereby allowing synthetic biologists to more rationally programme increasingly complex behaviours into living cells. Here we provide an overview of the components and strategies that exist for designer cell signal processing and decision making, discuss how these have been implemented in prototype systems for therapeutic, environmental, and industrial biotechnological applications, and examine emerging challenges in this promising field.


McCormick AJ, Bombelli P, Bradley RW, Thorne R, Wenzel T, Howe CJet al., 2015, Biophotovoltaics: oxygenic photosynthetic organisms in the world of bioelectrochemical systems, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, Vol: 8, Pages: 1092-1109, ISSN: 1754-5692


McCormick AJ, Bombelli P, Lea-Smith DJ, Bradley RW, Scott AM, Fisher AC, Smith AG, Howe CJet al., 2013, Hydrogen production through oxygenic photosynthesis using the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp PCC 6803 in a bio-photoelectrolysis cell (BPE) system, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, Vol: 6, Pages: 2682-2690, ISSN: 1754-5692


Bradley RW, Bombelli P, Lea-Smith DJ, Howe CJet al., 2013, Terminal oxidase mutants of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp PCC 6803 show increased electrogenic activity in biological photo-voltaic systems, PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, Vol: 15, Pages: 13611-13618, ISSN: 1463-9076


Bradley RW, Bombelli P, Rowden SJL, Howe CJet al., 2012, Biological photovoltaics: intra- and extra-cellular electron transport by cyanobacteria, BIOCHEMICAL SOCIETY TRANSACTIONS, Vol: 40, Pages: 1302-1307, ISSN: 0300-5127


Bombelli P, Bradley RW, Scott AM, Philips AJ, McCormick AJ, Cruz SM, Anderson A, Yunus K, Bendall DS, Cameron PJ, Davies JM, Smith AG, Howe CJ, Fisher ACet al., 2011, Quantitative analysis of the factors limiting solar power transduction by Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 in biological photovoltaic devices, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, Vol: 4, Pages: 4690-4698, ISSN: 1754-5692


Bombelli P, McCormick A, Bradley R, Yunus K, Philips J, Anderson X, Cruz S, Thorne R, Gu N, Smith A, Bendall D, Howe C, Peter L, Fisher Aet al., 2011, Harnessing solar energy by bio-photovoltaic (BPV) devices., Commun Agric Appl Biol Sci, Vol: 76, Pages: 89-91, ISSN: 1379-1176


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