Innovating research, policy and education in synthetic and systems biology

Our Vision

We will combine our research excellence in synthetic and systems biology to provide insights into natural systems and apply this knowledge to the challenges facing biomedicine. animal health, agriculture, industrial biotechnology and global sustainability.


Our Mission

We will deliver world-leading research in systems and synthetic biology; combining theory and informatics with molecular biology to understand and re-design biological systems. We will pioneer genetic and chemical tools to manipulate the cell, technologies to quantify responses at the single-cell level, and mathematical models to both predict and control cellular behaviour.

Our History

The Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology ('SynthSys') was originally established in 2007 as the Centre for Integrative Systems Biology, funded by the BBSRC and the EPSRC and led by Professor Andrew Millar. Many of our experimental and theoretical researchers continue to be co-located in the purpose built CH Waddington building (above) of the School of Biological Sciences, situated on the King’s Buildings campus of the University of Edinburgh.

SynthSys is a virtual centre, embracing an extensive community of more than 200 researchers distributed across the University. Our research is broad and deep, addressing a diversity of scientific questions with wide ranging impacts. We carry out research in the areas of industrial biotechnology (including bioremediation and biofuels), plant science and medicine and healthcare. You can read more about our Centre here.

In October 2015, we opened a newly refurbished building as the physical hub for our new UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology funded by the BBSRC/EPSRC/MRC as part of the UK Research Councils' Synthetic Biology for Growth programme.