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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 = {Gilbert, C and Ellis, T},
doi = {10.1021/acssynbio.8b00423},
journal = {ACS Synthetic Biology},
pages = {1--15},
title = {Biological engineered living materials - growing functional materials with genetically-programmable properties},
url = {},
volume = {8},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Natural biological materials exhibit remarkable properties: self-assembly from simple raw materials, precise control of morphology, diverse physical and chemical properties, self-repair and the ability to sense-and-respond to environmental stimuli. Despite having found numerous uses in human industry and society, the utility of natural biological materials is limited. But, could it be possible to genetically program microbes to create entirely new and useful biological materials? At the intersection between microbiology, material science and synthetic biology, the emerging field of biological Engineered Living Materials (ELMs) aims to answer this question. Here we review recent efforts to program cells to produce living materials with novel functional properties, focussing on microbial systems that can be engineered to grow materials and on new genetic circuits for pattern formation that could be used to produce the more complex systems of the future.
AU - Gilbert,C
AU - Ellis,T
DO - 10.1021/acssynbio.8b00423
EP - 15
PY - 2019///
SN - 2161-5063
SP - 1
TI - Biological engineered living materials - growing functional materials with genetically-programmable properties
T2 - ACS Synthetic Biology
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 8
ER -