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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 = {Friddin, M and Bolognesi, G and Salehi-Reyhani, A and Ces, O and Elani, Y},
doi = {10.1038/s42004-018-0101-4},
journal = {Communications Chemistry},
pages = {1--7},
title = {Direct manipulation of liquid ordered lipid membrane domains using optical traps},
url = {},
volume = {2},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Multicomponent lipid bilayers can give rise to coexisting liquid domains that are thought to influence a host of cellular activities. There currently exists no method to directly manipulate such domains, hampering our understanding of their significance. Here we report a system that allows individual liquid ordered domains that exist in a liquid disordered matrix to be directly manipulated using optical tweezers. This allows us to drag domains across the membrane surface of giant vesicles that are adhered to a glass surface, enabling domain location to be defined with spatiotemporal control. We can also use the laser to select individual vesicles in a population to undergo mixing/demixing by locally heating the membrane through the miscibility transition, demonstrating a further layer of control. This technology has potential as a tool to shed light on domain biophysics, on their role in biology, and in sculpting membrane assemblies with user-defined membrane patterning.
AU - Friddin,M
AU - Bolognesi,G
AU - Salehi-Reyhani,A
AU - Ces,O
AU - Elani,Y
DO - 10.1038/s42004-018-0101-4
EP - 7
PY - 2019///
SN - 2399-3669
SP - 1
TI - Direct manipulation of liquid ordered lipid membrane domains using optical traps
T2 - Communications Chemistry
UR -
UR -
VL - 2
ER -