We are a multidisciplinary team which spans five Departments (Bioengineering, Life Sciences, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Medicine) and three EPSRC-funded Centres (the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation, the Centre for Process Systems Engineering, and the Institute of Chemical Biology).

Project Board Chair and Implementation PI

Professor Richard Kitney
Department of Bioengineering
Co-director of CSynBI

Professor Kitney holds the Chair of BioMedical Systems Engineering.

His research in Synthetic Biology is focused on the development of information systems for synthetic biology, high-throughput bio-part characterisation and biosensor design. He has also worked on major developments in imaging techniques and medical biological information systems.
He has published over 200 refereed papers and is also one of the main founders of Visbion, a successful biomedical information systems company with 400 systems in 10 countries http://www.visbion.com/.

Kitney chaired the Royal Academy of Engineering Inquiry into Synthetic Biology, was a member of the UK Roadmap for Synthetic Biology working group and is now a member of the BIS Synthetic Biology Leadership Council.

Co-Investigators

Professor Paul Freemont
Department of Medicine

Co-director of CSynBI

Professor Freemont is Head of the new Section of Structural Biology in the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London. Prior to this he was Head of the Division of Molecular Biosciences, Department of Life Sciences at Imperial, Head of the Imperial College Centre for Structural Biology and Principal Scientist at the Cancer Research UK London Institute.

His research interests in Synthetic Biology are focused around the development of biosensors and foundational technologies for high throughput bio-part characterisation. His other research interests have focused on understanding the molecular and structural mechanisms of disease-associated proteins and he is author of over 150 refereed papers.

Professor Freemont is also co-founder of a spin out company Equinox Pharma Ltd and has held a number of external positions including membership of Royal Academy of Engineering enquiry into Synthetic Biology (2006-2008); and current Vice-chair of the Diamond Light Source Scientific Advisory Committee (since 2011).


Dr Karen Polizzi
Department of Life Sciences – Molecular Biosciences
Dr Polizzi joined the Division of Molecular Biosciences and CSynBI in 2008 as RCUK
Fellow and has since been promoted to lecturer. She has a multidisciplinary background in biochemistry and chemical engineering. Her current work focuses on industrial biotechnology applications using whole cells as a manufacturing platform and isolated enzymes in mixed chemo-enzymatic systems. On the Frontier Engineering project she is supervising work developing new processes for industrial biotechnology; in particular the production of high-value added compounds. Dr Polizzi has a strong track record of collaboration with industry including Dupont, Dow-Corning, and Genencor, and has links with UK industry through a Bioprocess Research Industry Club (BRIC) funded project, which involves a number of biopharmaceutical companies.


Dr Travis Bayer
Department of Life Sciences – Molecular Biosciences
Dr Bayer works in synthetic biology and metabolic engineering as part of the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation and the Division of Molecular Biosciences. Research is focused on two broad areas: (1) rewiring genetic and metabolic networks to produce valuable fuels, chemicals, materials, and drugs and to understand their organization, evolution, and design principles; and (2) construction and analysis of biological “input-output‟ devices that sense specific signals, perform computations, and provide genetic, chemical, and/or electronic outputs.


Dr Oscar Ces
Department of Chemistry
Dr Ces was appointed Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry in 2006 and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2010. His relevant expertise lies in artificial cell construction and biomimeticmicrofluidic systems and his role in this project is supervising the development and up-scaling of microreactor technologies for chemical synthesis including chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Manufacturing systems encompass artificial cells and lab-on-a-chip strategies.


Dr Jason Hallett
Department of Chemistry
Dr Hallett joined the Department of Chemistry in 2006. His role in this project involves the stabilisation of proteins toward non-aqueous processing conditions. This includes stabilising proteins toward novel solvents (ionic liquids) to enable high throughput and easy product separations under conditions not available to conventional biology.


Professor Nilay Shah
Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology
Prof Shah is the Director of the Centre for Process Systems Engineering (CPSE) and a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering. The Centre received a Queen’s Anniversary Award for Higher Education in 2002 in recognition of its research excellence and successful technology transfer strategy.
Professor Shah’s relevant expertise is in the model-based development and design of chemical and biological processes. He is Co-Director of the Urban Energy Systems project, Co-Director of the Porter Institute for Bioenergy, and Director of Imperial’s Manufacturing Futures Lab.


Dr Cleo Kontoravdi
Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology
Dr Kontoravdi is an RCUK Fellow/Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College, co-sponsored by Lonza Biologics, and a member of CPSE. She leads an interdisciplinary group which specialises in the functional integration of model-based tools with experimentation in bioprocessing and industrial biotechnology. She has experience in industrial process development gained during her employment at Lonza Biologics, and links with industry through EPSRC, IBTI, and BRIC-funded projects. She is the Co-PI of a research project looking at producing sustainable chemical feedstocks from sugar beet, and the Co-PI of a project on engineering semi-biotic systems.