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First ever biological amplifier

SynthSys PI,  Dr Baojun Wang, is amongst the team of scientists who have made an amplifier to boost biological signals, using DNA and harmless E. coli bacteria.

Baojun says “One potential use of this technology would be to deploy microscopic sensors equipped with our bio-amplifier component into a water network. Swarms of the sensors could then detect harmful or dangerous toxins that might be hazardous to our health. The bio-amplifiers in the sensors enable us to detect even minute amounts of dangerous toxins, which would be of huge benefit to water quality controllers.”

See full report by Imperial College Science News

SynthSys researchers develop PaperClip: a new DNA assembly method

Congratulations to Maryia Trubitsyna, Gracjan Michlewski, Yizhi Cai, Alistair Elfick and Chris French whose paper has been newly published in Nucleic Acids Research.

'PaperClip: rapid multi-part DNA assembly from existing libraries' available below.


'Transcription factor binding predicts histone modifications in human cell lines'

Congratulations to SynthSys PI, Guido Sanguinetti, co-author on newly published paper in PNAS

Yin Hoon Chew's newly published paper - Digital Arabidopsis plant!

 'Multiscale digital Arabidopsis predicts individual organ and whole-organism growth' has been newly published in Pnas.

Congratulations to Yin Hoon Chew & co-authors, including Karen Halliday and Andrew Millar.

Neonatal sepsis studies published in Nature Communications

Babies suffering from bacterial infections like sepsis could benefit from better treatment, thanks to a ground-breaking study.

SynthSys PI, Professor Peter Ghazal, is amongst the Edinburgh team who have identified a signal consisting of 52 molecular characters - like a biological tweet - that is specific to bacterial infection.

The findings could help develop a test for bacterial infection in newborns, using a single drop of blood.

Using blood samples from newborn babies in Edinburgh, the study investigated thousands of signals written in biological code known as messenger RNAs.Through meticulous code-breaking the scientists were able to decipher with close to 100 per cent accuracy the signals generated by an infant’s genome that specifically tell if they are suffering from sepsis.

BGI announces flagship project with Edinburgh Genome Foundry

BGI announces flagship project with Edinburgh Genome Foundry to synthesize the largest synthetic eukaryotic chromosome in the UK.
BGI, one of the world’s largest genomics research centers, and the University of Edinburgh, UK have signed a collaboration agreement to pursue an ambitious synthetic biology “construction” project worth up to £1Million. The two institutes will team up to synthesize synthetic yeast chromosome VII in the Edinburgh Genome Foundry, recently funded by the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and co-directed by Prof. Susan Rosser and Dr. Patrick Yizhi Cai.  

Edinburgh’s new Plant Science Network launched

A new network assembling expertise in food security, environmental sustainability and related policy across the Capital was launched at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh on Wednesday 25th June 2014.

The network has been established in recognition that a diverse set of expertise is required to solve some of the most pressing challenges to our planet. EPS will become an active forum to stimulate interdisciplinary research collaborations, new training opportunities and to raise the profile of the world-leading plant and social science research ongoing in and around the Capital.  

DARPA funding for SynthSys PI

Professor Vincent Danos has been awarded a ~$2M grant from US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for a 42-month project "Executable Biology" within the DARPA Big Mechanism Programme.

DARPA’s funding of the “The Big Mechanism Program” stems from the recognition that complex systems such as ecosystems, brains and economic and social systems have many components and processes but often these are studied piecemeal. It then becomes very difficult to build complete, explanatory models of complicated systems.

Although the focus of the Big Mechanism program is cancer biology the goal of the program is to develop technologies for a new kind of science in which research is integrated more or less immediately—automatically or semi-automatically—into causal, explanatory models of unprecedented completeness and consistency.

SynthSys and Tianjin University to collaborate in synthetic and systems biology

Professor Yingjin Yuan, Tianjin University and Professor David Gray, Head of the

June 18th, 2014  The University of Edinburgh and Tianjin University today signed a memorandum of understanding outlining their intention to establish research and teaching collaborations in mutually interesting areas of synthetic and systems biology. 


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