SynBioNT Mission Statement

The field of synthetic biology holds a great promise for the design, construction and development of artificial (i.e. man-made) biological (sub)systems, offering viable new routes to genetically modified organisms, smart drugs as well as model systems to examine artificial genomes and proteomes. The informed manipulation of such biological (sub)systems could have an enormous positive impact on our societies, with its effects being felt across a range of activities such as the provision of healthcare and environmental protection and remediation.

The basic premise of synthetic biology is that methods commonly used to design and construct non-biological systems, such as those employed in the computational sciences and the engineering disciplines, could also be used to model and program novel synthetic biosystems. Synthetic biology thus lies at the interface of a variety of disciplines ranging from biology through chemistry, physics, computer science, mathematics and engineering.

The overarching aim of this network is to generate new vigorous interactions between the disciplines that impinge (and contribute to) synthetic biology by supporting a range of community building activities. These activities will be centred on the specific technical goal of achieving programmable interactions between biological and artificial cells.

SynBioNT's remit

By focusing on this specific technical challenge we hope to contribute to bridging the gap between synthetic biology from the top-down (i.e. knocking out or modifying functions of existing cells) and bottom-up synthetic biology, that is, from first principles. We believe that both approaches are important and will have a role to play in the future of synthetic biology, hence a challenge that calls for the interaction between top-down systems (modified cells) and bottom-up systems (chells, protocells) provides the ideal background against which a new research community can be built and sustained.

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