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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 = {Shaw, W and Yamauchi, H and Mead, J and Gowers, G and Bell, D and Oling, D and Larsson, N and Wigglesworth, M and Ladds, G and Ellis, T},
doi = {10.1016/j.cell.2019.02.023},
journal = {Cell},
pages = {782--796.e27},
title = {Engineering a model cell for rational tuning of GPCR signaling},
url = {},
volume = {177},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling is the primary method eukaryotes use to respond to specific cues in their environment. However, the relationship between stimulus and response for each GPCR is difficult to predict due to diversity in natural signal transduction architecture and expression. Using genome engineering in yeast, we constructed an insulated, modular GPCR signal transduction system to study how the response to stimuli can be predictably tuned using synthetic tools. We delineated the contributions of a minimal set of key components via computational and experimental refactoring, identifying simple design principles for rationally tuning the dose response. Using five different GPCRs, we demonstrate how this enables cells and consortia to be engineered to respond to desired concentrations of peptides, metabolites, and hormones relevant to human health. This work enables rational tuning of cell sensing while providing a framework to guide reprogramming of GPCR-based signaling in other systems.
AU - Shaw,W
AU - Yamauchi,H
AU - Mead,J
AU - Gowers,G
AU - Bell,D
AU - Oling,D
AU - Larsson,N
AU - Wigglesworth,M
AU - Ladds,G
AU - Ellis,T
DO - 10.1016/j.cell.2019.02.023
EP - 796
PY - 2019///
SN - 0092-8674
SP - 782
TI - Engineering a model cell for rational tuning of GPCR signaling
T2 - Cell
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 177
ER -