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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 = {Elani, Y},
doi = {10.1002/anie.202006941},
journal = {Angewandte Chemie International Edition},
pages = {5602--5611},
title = {Interfacing living and synthetic cells as an emerging frontier in synthetic biology},
url = {},
volume = {60},
year = {2021}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - The construction of artificial cells from inanimate molecular building blocks is one of the grand challenges of our time. In addition to being used as simplified cell models to decipher the rules of life, artificial cells have the potential to be designed as micromachines deployed in a host of clinical and industrial applications. The attractions of engineering artificial cells from scratch, as opposed to reengineering living biological cells, are varied. However, it is clear that artificial cells cannot currently match the power and behavioural sophistication of their biological counterparts. Given this, many in the synthetic biology community have started to ask: is it possible to interface biological and artificial cells together to create hybrid living/synthetic systems that leverage the advantages of both? This article will discuss the motivation behind this cellular bionics approach, in which the boundaries between living and nonliving matter are blurred by bridging topdown and bottomup synthetic biology. It details the state of play of this nascent field and introduces three generalised hybridisation modes that have emerged.
AU - Elani,Y
DO - 10.1002/anie.202006941
EP - 5611
PY - 2021///
SN - 1433-7851
SP - 5602
TI - Interfacing living and synthetic cells as an emerging frontier in synthetic biology
T2 - Angewandte Chemie International Edition
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 60
ER -