National and International Outreach

A full and open collaboration ethos is at the heart of the SYNBIOCHEM Centre. We have developed local, national and international partnerships to foster new, high quality scientific research projects.

National collaborations: The Centre is part of a wider network of National Synthetic Biology Research Centres and DNA foundries (Web link) and works closely with the RCUK funded National Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (NIBB). These collaborations allow us to share research capabilities and expertise, and provide platforms to develop new collaborative research programmes.

International outreach: Over the past 2 years we have grown our international outreach across the globe by hosting visitors to the Centre from Brazil, China, Japan and Taiwan (amongst others) and delivering talks at international institutes and symposia.

Partnering awards: We have attracted several partnering awards to foster closer collaborations which include:

China: Synthetic Biology for biotechnology of fine chemicals – SynBioTech (Scrutton/Takano) to partner with researchers at Chinese Acadchina-mouemy of Science (Lixin Zhang) and Tsinghua University (Guo-Qiang Chen).

This partnering award recently led to the MIB and Tsinghua University signing a Memorandum of Understanding to further establish close working relationships in SynBio.

Japan: Application of MS-imaging and metabolomics in SynBio based strain improvement of industrially important microbes (Takano) to partner with the Department of Advanced Science and Biotechnology, Osaka University (Eiichiro Fukusaki).

Brazil: (BBSRC-FASESP) Synthetic Biology of transporters and other enzymes in yeast (Kell).

New International Research collaborations include: A collaboration with Brazil (CTBE: Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Lab.) and UK partners is using Synthetic Biology, Metagenomics, and Bioprocessing to provide alternative routes to high value chemicals. Lignin valorization in cellulosic ethanol plants: biocatalytic conversion via ferulic acid to high value chemicals. Summary: Lignin can be obtained as a by-product of cellulosic ethanol production, and is a potential source of renewable chemicals. Efficient valorisation of lignin is a major unsolved problem in the development of sustainable biorefineries. This 5 year project builds upon an existing BBSRC/FAPESP FAPPA partnership award, and brings together expertise in cellulosic ethanol production and in biocatalyst discovery (CTBE) with expertise in biocatalytic lignin valorisation (Warwick) and biocatalysts for high value chemicals production (Manchester, UCL).

European collaborationsThe Centre is further developing its EU collaborations as a member of the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Synthetic Biology Accelerator (IBISBA) infrastructure project (http://www.ibisba.com).

Development of thoroughly optimised production chassis for advanced pharmaceutical ingredients: A new H2020 funded project TOPCAPI, involving 8 academic and industry partners from 4 different countries (led by Prof. Takano) will exploit the natural fabrication power of actinomycetes as microbial cell factories to produce high-value pharmaceutical ingredients.

RoadMAPS to societal mobilisation for the advancement of responsible industrial technologies: Is a new EU programme that aims to connect industrial players with actors from research and civil society organisations to discuss and implement roadmaps for the responsible development of technologies in 3 key fields including SynBio (Led by Prof. Randles).