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Genetic programs for advanced cellular information processing and behaviour control

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Baojun Wang
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Interested individuals must follow Steps 1, 2 and 3 at this link on how to apply

Bacterial cells live in an ever changing environment and therefore are equipped with specific genetically-encoded sensors and signalling networks to continuously perceive and process the various environmental signals. In this sense, cells can be viewed as replicating living computers but with biochemical inputs and outputs. This project aims to design and construct synthetic gene circuits to program live bacterial cells with designer functions, in particular for advanced sensing, computing, information processing and control of multiple cellular and environmental signals with application, for example, in microbial cell factories.
You will be guided to construct various genetic programs including novel sensors, genetic logic gates, amplifiers, computing and memory circuits. The layering and integration of these circuit modules will lead to a programmable biological computer. The biological computer will then enable the programmed cells to have a range of intelligent capabilities for application in areas including biosensing, biomanufacturing and biotherapies. By example, the engineered tools can be applied to significantly enhance the production yields of some difficult-to-express, large or toxic therapeutic proteins in industrial scale bioreactors. You will be guided to develop new biological circuit design principles by exploiting design principles in other engineering systems such as modularity, orthogonality, systematic characterization and modelling to increase the predictability and scalability of gene circuit design and assembly.
The project will provide the student a comprehensive training of advanced molecular cloning and genetic tools, innovative microbiology and synthetic biology techniques and computational modelling skills. The research thus gives the student an inter-disciplinary research experience and cutting edge technologies exposure to prepare well for his/her future research career. The student may also benefit from the opportunity to work collaboratively with some of our industrial partners in biotechnology

Further information about the lab can be found at http://wang.bio.ed.ac.uk/ and informal enquiries may be made to [Email Address Removed].

Funding Notes

Please follow the instructions on how to apply http://www.ed.ac.uk/biology/prospective-students/postgraduate/pgr/how-to-apply

If you would like us to consider you for one of our scholarships you must apply by 12 noon on Monday 5th December 2016 at the latest.


Wang, Kitney, Joly and Buck, “Engineering modular and orthogonal genetic logic gates for robust digital-like synthetic biology”, Nature Communications, 2011,2:508 (Reported by Financial Times, EPSRC, European Commission, Electronics Weekly, Science Daily and Imperial College among others)
Wang, Barahona and Buck, “A modular cell-based biosensor using engineered genetic logic circuits to detect and integrate multiple environmental signals”, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2013, 40, 368-376
Bradley and Wang, “Designer cell signal processing circuits for biotechnology”, New Biotechnology, 2015, 32, 635-643

How good is research at University of Edinburgh in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 109.70

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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