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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T013788/1
Title: CBET-EPSRC: Developing Standardized Cell-Free Platforms for Rapid Prototyping of Complex Synthetic Biology Circuits and Pathways
Principal Investigator: Freemont, Professor PS
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
California Institute of Technology
Department: Dept of Medicine
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 October 2019 Ends: 30 September 2022 Value (£): 507,643
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Synthetic biology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Synthetic biology is an emerging field of engineering that aims to establish a systematic framework for the design of biological systems based on a 'bottom-up' approach for the reconstruction of complex bio-molecular systems. The application of an engineering approach to design is attractive, as many engineering parallels can be identified in living systems. However, biological systems are highly complex and dynamic and difficult to engineer. Rapid characterization of particular biological parts and devices requires new methods as existing methods are inefficient and error prone, and require extensive time-consuming experiments.

An alternative to current methods is the use ell-free systems for rapid characterization. Cell-free systems are cell extracts that contain all the machinery that allows biological parts to function and as such one can analyse many parts quickly without using living cells. This therefore speeds up the whole process. However, cell free systems can be variable and the results can be different between different researchers. The overall goal of this project is to further advance standardized cell-free systems using both computer models and new biochemical measurement tools. Such standardized systems will both explore the boundaries of cell-free prototyping and characterization, and enable more detailed understanding of key mechanisms, accelerating the usage and broader utility of cell-free systems in industry and academia.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk