The Foundry

Producing biological devices via systematic design and construction

Designing, constructing and testing DNA is a crucial element of synthetic biology, an area of science which combines biology and engineering to create new biologically based devices that will help solve a range of different global challenges.

These devices are made from harmless cells, such as yeast cells. Manmade yeast genes could then be used to create vaccines or even turn agricultural waste into biofuel.

We recently received £2million to establish a DNA Synthesis and Construction Foundry’. Building interchangeable bits of DNA, the building blocks of synthetic biology, is time consuming and expensive. It is hoped that the new Foundry will establish a common framework to build DNA by using an automated robotic system. With a common framework for creating DNA in place, synthetic biologists will be able to scale up the volumes of DNA produced to more easily test their new function.

Synthetic biology technology is being used to address a range of global challenges such as producing low-carbon fuel and producing new pharmaceuticals. It has been identified by the UK Government as one of the “Eight Great Technologies” in which Great Britain is or can be a world leader.

The establishment of DNA Synthesis and Construction Foundry is managed by SynbiCITE, which aims to bridge the gap between academia and industry to speed up developments in new synthetic biology technologies.