Synthetic Biology and the Physical Cell Group

Co-convenors: John Girkin (Durham University) and Karen Polizzi (Imperial College London)

The Synthetic Biology and the Physical Cell Group is interested in uniting many different aspects of cell biology to gain an understanding and insight into what happens physically to cells during their life and look at how to exploit this using the tools available from synthetic biology. There is a strong focus on a multidisciplinary approach to the challenge bringing together biologists (both plant and animal cell experts), physicists, engineers, mathematicians and chemists to unravel the complex process taking place within cells, and learn how to manipulate these to create non-natural systems (e.g. for manufacturing products of interest or creating new living entities).
Crucial to this process is obtaining high quality information about the cell structure and the dynamic nature of the process contained within each cell so imaging plays a crucial role at the start of the process. By then linking this with an understanding of the localised biochemistry, it is possible to construct multidimensional models of the process involved, frequently using mathematics as the language. From such models predictions can be made from this holistic approach to physical cell biology.