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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 = {Graham, N and Junghans, C and Downes, R and Sendall, C and Lai, H and McKirdy, A and Elliott, P and Howard, R and Wingfield, D and Priestman, M and Ciechonska, M and Cameron, L and Storch, M and Crone, MA and Freemont, PS and Randell, P and McLaren, R and Lang, N and Ladhani, S and Sanderson, F and Sharp, DJ},
doi = {10.1016/j.jinf.2020.05.073},
journal = {Journal of Infection},
pages = {411--419},
title = {SARS-CoV-2 infection, clinical features and outcome of COVID-19 in United Kingdom nursing homes},
url = {},
volume = {81},
year = {2020}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - OBJECTIVES: To understand SARS-Co-V-2 infection and transmission in UK nursing homes in order to develop preventive strategies for protecting the frail elderly residents. METHODS: An outbreak investigation involving 394 residents and 70 staff, was carried out in 4 nursing homes affected by COVID-19 outbreaks in central London. Two point-prevalence surveys were performed one week apart where residents underwent SARS-CoV-2 testing and had relevant symptoms documented. Asymptomatic staff from three of the four homes were also offered SARS-CoV-2 testing. RESULTS: Overall, 26% (95% CI 22 to 31) of residents died over the two-month period. All-cause mortality increased by 203% (95% CI 70 to 336) compared with previous years. Systematic testing identified 40% (95% CI 35 to 46) of residents as positive for SARS-CoV-2, and of these 43% (95% CI 34 to 52) were asymptomatic and 18% (95% CI 11 to 24) had only atypical symptoms; 4% (95% CI -1 to 9) of asymptomatic staff also tested positive. CONCLUSIONS: The SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in four UK nursing homes was associated with very high infection and mortality rates. Many residents developed either atypical or no discernible symptoms. A number of asymptomatic staff members also tested positive, suggesting a role for regular screening of both residents and staff in mitigating future outbreaks.
AU - Graham,N
AU - Junghans,C
AU - Downes,R
AU - Sendall,C
AU - Lai,H
AU - McKirdy,A
AU - Elliott,P
AU - Howard,R
AU - Wingfield,D
AU - Priestman,M
AU - Ciechonska,M
AU - Cameron,L
AU - Storch,M
AU - Crone,MA
AU - Freemont,PS
AU - Randell,P
AU - McLaren,R
AU - Lang,N
AU - Ladhani,S
AU - Sanderson,F
AU - Sharp,DJ
DO - 10.1016/j.jinf.2020.05.073
EP - 419
PY - 2020///
SN - 0163-4453
SP - 411
TI - SARS-CoV-2 infection, clinical features and outcome of COVID-19 in United Kingdom nursing homes
T2 - Journal of Infection
UR -
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 81
ER -