Synthetic biology is an emerging field that seeks to apply engineering principles to the design of biological systems. This is a promising area of research, with the potential for both furthering our understanding of basic biology, and creating genetically engineered biological systems that have practical applications. As part of the EPSRC funded Flowers Consortium led by Imperial College, we are currently undertaking a systematic analysis of bacterial genomes for useful genetic components, and creating a data warehouse containing this information. Further to this, in collaboration with the Ajioka Lab, we are investigating the use of aptamers as molecular recognition probes.
The Cambridge University iGEM team has been organised every year since 2005 (we had a break in 2013) with Jim Haseloff (Plant Sciences) and Jim Ajioka (Pathology). With them and and others we have also established a synthetic biology forum and run Cambridge based symposia, as part of Cambridge BioDesign.