Innovating research, policy and education in synthetic and systems biology

Industrial Biotechnology

Industrial biotechnology is the use of biological resources (bacteria, plants, algae and other marine life forms, fungi and other micro-organisms) for producing and processing materials, chemicals and energy. It offers a route to creating a low carbon future by providing alternatives to fossil fuel based energy and products. The sector has the potential to generate up to £12 billion by 2025.

Synthetic and systems biology are fundamental tools for the delivery of solutions for IB and our Centre is well placed to deliver highly innovative solutions to address a many industry challenges.



Case Studies 

• Dr Louise Horsfall is collaborating with Diageo - a global leader in the beverage alcohol industry - to produce copper nanoparticles from distillery byproducts using bacteria. This will conserve resources, reduce operating costs and also benefit the environment.
• Professor Gary Loake is working with GSK to develop a sustainable biological process that replaces synthetic chemical routes for esterification, a technology that enables purification of fine chemicals from aqueous environments. This could lead to cleaner and greener routes to antibiotics production.
• Professor Susan Rosser is working with the SME Ingenza to develop a CRISPR-Cas9 genome modification system in industrial yeast strains to generate yeast lines with enhanced value for a range of industrial applications.

What we can offer

  • Expertise in a variety of feedstocks for high-value chemicals manufacture;
  • Access to libraries of extremophiles suited for novel enzymes and biomolecules;
  • Expertise in the biosynthesis of high value plant natural products;
  • Viral vectors and plant systems for production of proteins and bio-therapeutics;
  • Computational modelling tools to design biological pathways and circuits;
  • Robust methods for automated assembly of DNA molecules;
  • Designing and building biosensors for detection of pollutants;
  • Comprehensive suite of high throughput screening and analytic tools;
  • World-class expertise in responsible research and innovation, value chain analysis and stakeholder engagement. 

The University of Edinburgh is an active participant in Scotland’s Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), a unique facility that promotes collaboration between industry and academia to drive innovations to market. We work with all the IBioIC industrial members to develop exciting collaborative research that addresses a diverse range of industry challenges.