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Electrogenetics – engineering living electronic transducer protein

Principal Supervisor: Dr Munehiro Asally

Secondary Supervisor(s): Professor Nick Dale

University of Registration: University of Warwick

BBSRC Research Themes:

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Deadline: 4 January, 2024

Project Outline


Synthetic Biology uses biological parts to construct circuits that are analogous to electronic circuits. Beyond the conceptual analogy, directly linking biological and electronic circuits could give rise to a bio-electronics hybrid systems to achieve tasks. The convergence of synthetic biology and bioelectronics is beginning to be explored (1–3).

Project Aim

This project will develop transducer proteins that convert changes in membrane potential to enzymatic activities and gene expression. You will explore three protein engineering designs that leverage i) Voltage-sensitive and ii) Potassium sensitive protein conformation change and iii) membrane-potential dependent transporter protein.


The project will combine synthetic biology, fluorescence microscopy and electrophysiology. The key methods to be used include molecular biology, microbiology, fluorescence microscopy, patterned optical stimulation, electrical stimulation, and quantitative image analysis (Python and imageJ).


  1. Y. Zhang, L. H. H. Hsu, X. Jiang, Living electronics. Nano Res. 13, 1205–1213 (2020).
  2. J. Selberg, M. Gomez, M. Rolandi, The Potential for Convergence between Synthetic Biology and Bioelectronics. Cell Syst. 7, 231–244 (2018).
  3. J. T. Atkinson, M. S. Chavez, C. M. Niman, M. Y. El-Naggar, Living electronics: A catalogue of engineered living electronic components. Microb. Biotechnol. 16, 507–533 (2023).


  • Molecular cloning
  • Time-lapse Fluorescence microscopy
  • Optical stimulation
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Quantitative image analysis