Innovating research, policy and education in synthetic and systems biology

Welcome to the new SynthSys Director

Dr Meriem el Karoui of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biology has become the new Director of SynthSys.

Meriem received her PhD in Microbiology in 1998 from the University René Descartes (Paris, France), where she focused on understanding DNA repair in bacteria. For her post-doctoral training she moved to the University of Oxford, where she worked with Prof. Jeffrey Errington on cell division in Bacillus subtilis. She then started her group at INRA (France) to study chromosome organization in bacteria. In 2009, as a visiting professor at Harvard Medical School, she developed an in vivo single molecule imaging technique, and stochastic models of DNA repair.

In 2013, she was awarded a prestigious Chancellor’s Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh where she has established a group with merged expertise in mathematics, microbiology and biophysics. Meriem is a Wellcome Trust Investigator and her research focuses on the integration of bacterial physiology in the understanding of the molecular processes underlying DNA maintenance and antibiotic tolerance.

Meriem will interact across several schools and colleges and help build bridges between the different disciplines. The rotating directorship reflects the multidisciplinary research of the Centre.  Meriem takes over from Professor Alistair Elfick from the School of  Engineering.

Find out more about Meriem’s research interests:

Lab website:

Twitter: @MEKlab

Wellcome Trust video: