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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 = {McAleer, MA and Jakasa, I and Hurault, G and Sarvari, P and McLean, WHI and Tanaka, RJ and Kezic, S and Irvine, AD},
doi = {10.1111/bjd.17088},
journal = {British Journal of Dermatology},
pages = {586--596},
title = {Systemic and stratum corneum biomarkers of severity in infant AD include markers of innate and Th-related immunity and angiogenesis},
url = {},
volume = {180},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - BACKGROUND: Biomarkers of atopic dermatitis (AD) are largely lacking, especially in infant AD. Those that have been examined to date have focused mostly on serum cytokines with few on non-invasive biomarkers in the skin. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to explore biomarkers obtainable from non-invasive sampling of infant skin. We compared these to plasma biomarkers and structural and functional measures of the skin barrier. METHODS: We recruited 100 infants at first presentation with AD, who were treatment naïve to topical or systemic anti-inflammatory therapies and 20 healthy children. We sampled clinically unaffected skin by tape stripping the stratum corneum (SC). Multiple cytokines and chemokines and natural moisturizing factors (NMF) were measured in the SC and plasma. We recorded disease severity and skin barrier function. RESULTS: 19 SC and 12 plasma biomarkers showed significant difference between healthy and AD skin. Some biomarkers were common to both the SC and plasma, and others were compartment-specific. Identified biomarkers of AD severity included Th2 skewed markers (IL-13, CCL17, CCL22, IL-5), markers of innate activation (IL-18, Il-1α, IL1β, CXCL8), angiogenesis (Flt-1, VEGF) and others (sICAM-1, vCAM-1, IL-16, IL-17A). CONCLUSIONS: We identified clinically relevant biomarkers of AD, including novel markers, easily sampled and typed in infants. These markers may provide objective assessment of disease severity and suggest new therapeutic targets, or response measurement targets for AD. Future studies will be required to determine if these biomarkers, seen in very early AD, can predict disease outcomes or comorbidities.
AU - McAleer,MA
AU - Jakasa,I
AU - Hurault,G
AU - Sarvari,P
AU - McLean,WHI
AU - Tanaka,RJ
AU - Kezic,S
AU - Irvine,AD
DO - 10.1111/bjd.17088
EP - 596
PY - 2019///
SN - 1365-2133
SP - 586
TI - Systemic and stratum corneum biomarkers of severity in infant AD include markers of innate and Th-related immunity and angiogenesis
T2 - British Journal of Dermatology
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 180
ER -