Dr Tom Ellis (Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation and Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London)
Thu 24 Sep 2015, 12:00 - 13:00
C.H Waddington Building, Seminar room 1.08, King's Building's

If you have a question about this talk, please contact: Julie Fyffe (jfyffe)

Image for Designing materials and gene expression at lower cost

Synthetic biology seeks to understand and derive value from biology via its re-design and synthesis using engineering principles. The workhorses of this endeavour are microbial cells, reprogrammed with synthetic DNA constructs to perform new tasks such as biosynthesis, biosensing and computation. In this talk, I will first discuss our upcoming work on engineering materials from bacterial sources and how an iGEM project can transform the directions of a lab. I’ll then introduce our recent publication characterising the cost synthetic biology constructs impose on the microbial cells that host them. By combining a mathematical model of protein synthesis with a novel assay for measuring the expression capacity of cells, we can assess and predict the burden different parts and constructs impose on their host and identify designs that operate efficiently at a lower cost to the cell’s economy. This foundational work adds a crucial new dimension to synthetic biology that aids the design of engineered cells more robust to mutation and with predictable growth rates desirable for use in industrial biotechnology.