Via my participation in the BBSRC/ EPSRC funded Sheffield Synthetic Biology Network entitled Microbial Applications to Tissue Engineering, or MATEs, I have become involved in the new and evolving field of synthetic biology. This field exists at the interface between Biology and Engineering and while having several definitions is viewed here in Sheffield as 'engineering of biological systems for useful purposes'. Information can be found at our new 'Synthetic Biology@Sheffield website http://www.synbio.group.shef.ac.uk/synbio/.
Work within the network has focussed on the production of chimeric recombinant proteins as protoype molecules for use as tissue bioglues with the ultimate aim of being able to help in tissue engineering applications such as skin grafting. Though a combination of MSc students and some faculty of medicine funding several prototypes have been produced that are being tested in collaboration with colleagues in the group of Professor Sheila MacNeil in the Kroto Institute here in Sheffield.
We are also investigating the possibility of engineering Flagella Type III secretion systems as high capacity secretion devices, work being carried out as part of a recently funded PhD Network in Synthetic Biology.
We are also working on some ideas in the area of biomanufacturing of biomacromolecules and are looking for talented individuals in this area, either PhD students or Potential Marie Curie applicants, so please get in touch.