Archive for News

SHIKIFACTORY: A new EU partnership to deliver high-value compounds

The SYNBIOCHEM  Centre is part of an exciting new H2020 EU collaboration, ShikiFactory 100, worth 8 million Euros. This project gathers together 11 partners from 7 countries with the aim to produce over 100 high value compounds from the shikimate pathway, a hub of cell metabolism, through the development of an optimised chassis and implementation of novel biosynthetic routes for the production of known and new to nature molecules. Read more here

International Research Alliance for Antibiotic Discovery and Development Network

SYNBIOCHEM Co-director Eriko Takano is a founding participant in this new network which is one of eight networks awarded funding within the JPIAMR 2018 call for transnational networks “Building the Foundation of the JPIAMR Virtual Research Institute”. Each funded network will receive €50,000 to establish expertise clusters to identify research community needs and develop ideas to form the foundation for the JPIAMR Virtual Research Institute (JPIAMR-VRI). The IRAADD network includes internationally renowned groups with excellence in AMR research focussing on early stages of antibiotic discovery and development. This expert team will include natural products researchers, medical microbiologists, bioinformaticians, medicinal chemists and target-based drug designers, as well advisory partners from global alliances focussing on antibiotic development such as DNDi/GARDP and IMI-ENABLE. The network partners ill set up a cooperative platform to allow the sharing of scientific research data, translational knowledge and expert advice for the strategic development of new and advanced projects with the aim to take collaborative scientific research in the early stages of antibiotics discovery and development to a new level.

Find out more here

Selenzyme: Enzyme selection tool for pathway design


Enzymes are proteins found in every living organism, catalysing biochemical reactions and involved in multiple biological processes. Industrial biotechnology utilises enzymes in a large variety of applications such as in sectors including food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and advanced materials. However, finding the right combination of enzymes for a desired process is often extremely challenging. Selenzyme, developed by researchers at the Manchester Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SYNBIOCHEM), Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, is a freely available online tool that assists the scientist in the selection of the enzymes for his/her experiment. The user is guided through several decision steps in order to shortlist the best candidates, graphically presenting key information about the enzymes. Selenzyme is a key component of the automated pipeline at the SYNBIOCHEM where we are aiming to provide greener, more sustainable routes for microbial production of fine chemicals.

Carbonell, P., Wong, J., Swainston, N., Takano, E., Turner, N. J., Scrutton, N. S., Kell, D.B., Breitling, R. Faulon, J.L. (2018). Selenzyme: Enzyme selection tool for pathway design. Bioinformatics, bty065.

Synthetic biology in China: An update from the field

In May 2015, Yanchao Li and Philip Shapira (RRI) undertook a series of interviews in China with scientists and entrepreneurs working in the fast growing domain of synthetic biology. They visited several key institutions undertaking synthetic biology and commercialization in China interviewing researchers, entrepreneurs and high-level managers at Tsinghua University in Beijing and Shanghai Institute for Biological sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. [Read blog post on synthetic biology in China]

EU Opinions on Synthetic biology

Prof. Rainer Breitling and Prof. Eriko Takano have been involved in three EU Opinions on Synthetic biology  – the European Commission (EC) Scientific Committees issued a draft opinion on whether existing risk assessment methods are adequate for synthetic biology.

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Collaboration with FAIRDOM

SynBioChem are now official FAIRDOM “friends” and four representatives from the SynBioChem team are official FAIRDOM PALs. This means that SynBioChem have an official role within the ERA-NET EraSysAPP and European Research Infrastructure ISBE. The SynBioChem SEEK is being temporarily hosted at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies.

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MIB features in stunning video of Manchester and its mind-blowing scientific legacy

Watch this stunning video showing Manchester’s past achievements in science and innovation.

The four-and-a-half-minute film focuses on the role of science and innovation has had and still has in the city – Alan Turing, the split of the atom, The Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, ‘Corridor Manchester’, Alderley Park and the National Graphene Institute all feature.

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UK Synthetic Biology Centres tasked with addressing public concerns

An extra £40m for synthetic biology research in the UK comes with support to encourage responsible innovation.

Social media analysis offers a heads up on new research ideas and potential public concerns.

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Minister visits MIB following £40 million funding announcement

Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable has visited the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) to meet scientists working on synthetic biology. This follows the announcement of £40million funding into this cutting-edge research area, £32 million of which is being split across new research centres in Manchester, Edinburgh, and Warwick.

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MIB wins £3 million grant for cutting edge biotechnology harnessing the power of SynBio

Scientists at The University of Manchester aim to develop new sustainable ways of manufacturing chemicals used in thousands of our everyday products. Professor Nigel Scrutton and his team at the MIB and SYNBIOCHEM are one of five beneficiaries of the BBSRC’s Strategic Longer and Larger Grants (sLoLaS) scheme which funds high-value long-term research projects.

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