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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 = {Caro-Astorga, J and Walker, KT and Ellis, T},
doi = {10.1101/2020.05.11.088138},
title = {Bacterial cellulose spheroids as building blocks for 2D and 3D engineered living materials},
url = {},

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - <jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Engineered living materials (ELMs) based on bacterial cellulose (BC) offer a promising avenue for cheap-to-produce materials that can be programmed with genetically encoded functionalities. Here we explore how ELMs can be fabricated from millimetre-scale balls of cellulose occasionally produced by <jats:italic>Acetobacteriacea</jats:italic> species, which we call BC spheroids. We define a reproducible protocol to produce BC spheroids and demonstrate their potential for use as building blocks to grow ELMs in 2D and 3D shapes. These BC spheroids can be genetically functionalized and used as the method to make and grow patterned BC-based ELMs to design. We further demonstrate the use of BC spheroids for the repair and regeneration of BC materials, and measure the survival of the BC-producing bacteria in the material over time. This work forwards our understanding of BC spheroid formation and showcases their potential for creating and repairing engineered living materials.</jats:p>
AU - Caro-Astorga,J
AU - Walker,KT
AU - Ellis,T
DO - 10.1101/2020.05.11.088138
TI - Bacterial cellulose spheroids as building blocks for 2D and 3D engineered living materials
UR -
ER -