We are currently looking for a highly talented and motivated PhD student with a strong background in systems and control engineering, and/or mathematical/computational modelling or biophysics/biomathematics for a PhD project entitled "Development of a novel design engineering platform for the efficient design of engineered living cells with increased functional robustness and performance": http://www.bg.ic.ac.uk/research/g.stan/PhD_Project_Engineering_Framework_Whole_Cell_Model.pdf.
This project will be realised in collaboration with other members of the Stan Group and other groups in the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation.
Synthetic Biology is a nascent (~15 year old) field focused on the engineering of biology, i.e. methodically re-purposing the molecules and processes of life. In this spirit, this research project aims at developing a systems and control engineering framework, with associated computer-aided-design (CAD) tools to make the development and wetlab implementation of engineered cells and novel biological functions easier and more efficient.
Anticipated high-impact applications of synthetic biology range from cell-based diagnostics and therapeutics for treating human diseases, to efficiently transforming feedstocks into fuels or biochemicals, to biosensing, bioremediation or production of advanced biomaterials. Central to tackling these problems is the development of novel systems and control engineering and computer-aided-design tools for the efficient development and cellular implementation of new-to-nature biological functionalities.
As in other engineering disciplines, efficient design engineering methods rooted in systems and control theory would allow us to make the engineering of biological systems easier, as well as significantly reduce the costs and time required for the development of synthetic biology applications of high societal, commercial and industrial importance.
In particular, this PhD work will focus on developing a design engineering platform rooted in systems and control engineering and its associated CAD tools to assist in the design, optimisation and development of engineered living cells with increased functional robustness and performance.