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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 = {Vivek, A and Bolognesi, G and Elani, Y},
doi = {10.3390/mi11040388},
journal = {Micromachines},
title = {Fusing artificial cell compartments and lipid domains using optical traps: a tool to modulate membrane composition and phase behaviour},
url = {},
volume = {11},
year = {2020}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - New technologies for manipulating biomembranes have vast potential to aid the understanding of biological phenomena, and as tools to sculpt novel artificial cell architectures for synthetic biology. The manipulation and fusion of vesicles using optical traps is amongst the most promising due to the level of spatiotemporal control it affords. Herein, we conduct a suite of feasibility studies to show the potential of optical trapping technologies to (i) modulate the lipid composition of a vesicle by delivering new membrane material through fusion events and (ii) manipulate and controllably fuse coexisting membrane domains for the first time. We also outline some noteworthy morphologies and transitions that the vesicle undergoes during fusion, which gives us insight into the mechanisms at play. These results will guide future exploitation of laser-assisted membrane manipulation methods and feed into a technology roadmap for this emerging technology.
AU - Vivek,A
AU - Bolognesi,G
AU - Elani,Y
DO - 10.3390/mi11040388
PY - 2020///
SN - 2072-666X
TI - Fusing artificial cell compartments and lipid domains using optical traps: a tool to modulate membrane composition and phase behaviour
T2 - Micromachines
UR -
UR -
VL - 11
ER -