Synthetic biology meets Computer Science
Dr Sara Kalvala has been awarded a grant towards developing tools for Synthetic Biology. The multidisciplinary project, funded by EPSRC and involving colleagues from Nottingham and Sheffield, aims at developing programmable defensive bacterial coatings and skins.
Scientific and technical advances mean that it is practically feasible to insert external genes into bacteria; the difficulty is in making sure the modified bacteria do something useful. For this, it is useful to approach the cell as a machine and its genetic engine as made up of brick-like components that can be combined in different ways. This is the idea behind the new and exciting discipline of Synthetic Biology.
Sara's experience in compilers and formal logics will inform the development of tools which will help assemble genetic networks and model their interactions with host genes. Then, the whole procedure to perform this genetic engineering in an efficient and robust way will be addressed. Then we will be ready to actually manipulate the bacteria and create useful bacterial coatings and skins.
The project is due to start in early 2012, and research staff will be recruited at all three sites. At Warwick we will be looking for a post-doctoral researcher with expertise in both computer science and biology. For further information please contact Sara Kalvala.