Synthetic biology in the real world: Case studies

Detection of food spoilage organisms using bionanotechnology

Food spoilage post harvest represent a significant issue in the food production industry. For example it is estimated that in potato production a large processing house can loose over £100,000...

Investing in emerging leaders

The Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program (SynBioLEAP) invests in the next generation of leaders in synthetic biology by providing the environment to learn skills for...

‘Re-engineering cellular factories to make novel proteins not found in nature’

Professor Jason Chin’s research programme at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge involves expanding the available repertoire of amino acids, the twenty building blocks that are...

‘World’s first artificial enzymes created using synthetic biology’

Professor Philipp Holliger’s (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge) team have created the world’s first enzymes - ‘XNAzymes’ - made from artificial genetic material not found anywhere...

Organoids – animal free drug testing

The UK is continually trying to reduce the use of animal testing in research, both for ethical reasons and because there are limits in the usefulness of animal-based data in predicting human...

Creative ways of generating dialogue around synbio

The Synthetic Aesthetics project paired six artists/designers with six scientists/engineers. The aim of the project was not to beautify or better communicate the science, but to explore the...

Synbio health impact for developing countries

Arsenic in drinking water is an enormous public health issue in Bangladesh, West Bengal, Nepal and other areas of South Asia, with more than 100 million people at risk. Tens of millions of wells...

YeastFab offers useful tools for industrial biotech

Dr Patrick Cai, Principal Investigator at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology and co-director of the Edinburgh Genome Foundry, along with collaborators from...

Synpromics – the power of synthetic promoters

Synpromics was founded by Dr Michael Roberts in 2010; it develops synthetic promoters which can specifically regulate gene expression. Promoters are a key element in expressing synthetic genes...

Standards for engineering in plants

The introduction of standards for the assembly of characterised DNA sequences and the establishment of a Registry of Standard Parts were landmarks in microbial engineering. Improvements in the...

Plants as bio-factories

The CPMV-HT (Cowpea Mosaic Virus-HyperTranslatable) expression system, developed by Prof George Lomonossoff and Dr Frank Sainsbury at the John Innes Centre, has established a unique position for...

Boosting bioactives

Tomatoes are proving to be a great system for production of bioactive compounds that offer protection against e.g. inflammation, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Part of the OpenPlant...

Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa (ENSA)

During the Green Revolution nitrogen fertilisers as much as tripled cereal yields in some areas. However, these synthetic fertilisers remain unaffordable in developing countries, for example for...

Mould unlocks new route to biofuels

Scientists at The University of Manchester have made important discoveries that form the basis for the development of new applications in biofuels and sustainable manufacturing of chemicals....

Scientists a step closer to developing renewable propane

Researchers at The University of Manchester have made a significant breakthrough in the development of synthetic pathways that will enable renewable biosynthesis of the gas propane. This...

Single-step fermentative production of the cholesterol-lowering drug pravastatin

University of Manchester researchers, together with industrial partner DSM, have developed a single-step fermentative method for the production of leading cholesterol-lowering drug, pravastatin....

Enzymatic Menthol Production

Menthol isomers are high-value monoterpenoid commodity chemicals, produced naturally by mint plants. The high demand by the flavour and fragrance industries for natural sources has a high cost...

Oxitec

Oxitec a pioneering company founded in 2002 as a spinout from Oxford University funded by the BBSRC has been sold to Intextron a US based bio-technology Company for £102 million. Oxitec has...

Oxford Biotrans – sustainable grapefruit flavour

Oxford Biotrans is a spin-out company from Oxford University; its first process will produce nootkatone which gives grapefruit its flavour. An alternative source of natural nootkatone is...

Synthace

Synthace's purpose is universal bioscience productivity. Our deceptively simple bio-programming language, Antha is bioscience’s missing link. Antha effortlessly spreads biological...

Autolus - Genetically engineered cellular robots to attack cancer

Autolus is a spin out company from UCL based on the work of Dr Martin Pule. It is developing cancer therapies based on engineering immune cells (called CAR T- cells) to enable them to more...

A sustainable source of omega-3?

The primary sources of omega-3 in humans is via the consumption of fish, however, fish do not produce omega-3 themselves, but accumulate it from the food they eat. Farmed fish are fed on...

iGEM – from student competition to spin-out company

The iGEM competition was started in 2004 and has since developed into a global competition with undergraduate and high school tracks. The competition involves using standard biological parts...

Antibiotic pathway engineering tools

Professors Marshall Stark and Maggie Smith from the University of Glasgow and the University of York are using phage integrases to facilitate the search for new antibiotics to combat antibiotic...

Sphere Fluidics

Sphere Fluidics Limited is an established Life Sciences Tool company based on Babraham Research Campus (UK). The company is focussing on developing single cell analysis systems for therapeutic...

Algal oils by design

Professor Johnathan Napier and Dr Olga Sayanova are leading the project on metabolic engineering of microalgae for the enhanced production of omega-3. Omega-3 are long-chain fatty acids...

Click nucleic acid ligation

The synthesis of DNA constructs containing modified bases is becoming increasingly important due to very recent discovery of various DNA base analogues in the human genome and their central role...

Plants help clean up explosive-contaminated land

Pollution from explosives can pose a risk to both the environment and public health. A sustainable alternative to current decontamination methods is needed, as they are expensive and...

Toolkit for a responsive biosensor

Scientists at Imperial College London, in collaboration with AstraZeneca, are currently working on generating a toolkit for biosensor networks to be used for small peptide signalling. If...

Green Biologics Ltd

Green Biologics is a renewable chemicals company focussed on developing and delivering new renewable alternatives for everyday products. A successful programme of strain and process...

Parasight - A rapid modular platform for parasite detection in developing countries

Researchers in Professor Paul Freemont’s laboratory at Imperial College London are currently developing biosensors for the detection of parasites. The modular sensors work by detecting the...

The Development of Bio-logical Devices

The development of bio-logic and bio-logical devices is an important area in the development of more advanced biological devices that are designed and built according to the application of...

Sc 2.0 project

The Synthetic Yeast Genome Project is a global research effort aimed at completely synthesising and constructing a modern synthetic version of the S. Cerevisiae (baker’s yeast) genome. The...

Sentinel bacterial cells for homeostatic regulation of extra-cellular concentrations

A project led by scientists from Imperial College London (Dr Guy-Bart Stan and Dr Karen Polizzi), in collaboration with responsible research and innovation researchers at King’s College London...

GSK

Innovate UK support is a key factor in GSK being prepared to pursue novel Synthetic Biology approaches over more traditional ‘tried and tested’ alternatives. Funding presented an opportunity to...

UK Strategic Plan for Synthetic Biology 2016

Click on the image above to download the UK Synthetic Biology Strategic Plan 2016

New synthetic biology technologies are starting to offer exciting opportunities across a range of industries including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, biofuels and health.

Research Council funding in collaboration with a wide variety of national and international partners across academia and industry, is supporting the long-term growth of UK synthetic biology, development of a highly skilled workforce and an infrastructure to underpin and enable cutting edge research in industry and academia, as well as providing support for synthetic biology start-up companies.

The pervasive potential of synthetic biology is brought to life through a series of case studies ranging from a biosensor toolkit with the ability to treat chronic conditions such as diabetes through to using enzymes from yeast mould to unlock cleaner routes to producing biofuel.

The wide ranging applications of synthetic biology will play an important role in growing the UK's bioeconomy, creating new jobs and ensuring the UK is a world leader in this area.

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