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About us

The Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative provides a hub for anyone interested in Synthetic Biology at the University of Cambridge, including researchers, commercial partners and external collaborators.

Synthetic Biology is an emerging field which applies engineering principles to the design and modification of living systems. The University of Cambridge has been an important and early contributor in this area. The Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative was established in 2013 with the support of the Schools of Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and Technology to bring together related activities across the university and within the community.

Academic leadership of the SRI is provided by the Steering Committee, supported by the SRI Coordinator who works with researchers and external partners to implement SRI activities. The major aims of the SRI are to:

  1. Provide a hub of interdisciplinary exchange for all those interested in Synthetic Biology at the University of Cambridge, from researchers and students to industrial partners and policy makers.
  2. Promote interdisciplinary collaborations across the University through regular events and twice-yearly seed funding competitions.
  3. Facilitate funding applications in the field of Synthetic Biology
  4. Initiate academic-industrial partnerships across the SRI Research Themes.
  5. Explore open technologies for innovation, widening participation in novel IP practices and business models for tools related to Synthetic Biology.
  6. Explore the wider social context of GM technologies at the local and global level, particularly responsible innovation for sustainability and conservation.

Annual Reports

Steering Committee

  • Dr. Jim Haseloff (Co-Chair), Department of Plant Sciences
  • Dr. Jim Ajioka (Co-Chair), Department of Pathology
  • Prof. Bill Adams, Department of Geography
  • Dr. Lara Allen, Centre for Global Equality
  • Prof. Jeremy Baumberg, Department of Nanophotonics
  • Dr. Pietro Cicuta, Department of Physics
  • Dr. Lorenzo de Michele, Department of Physics
  • Dr. Robert Doubleday, Centre for Science and Policy
  • Dr. Ljiljana Fruk, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotech
  • Dr. Rosalyn Gregory, Research Strategy Office
  • Mr. Bill Jia, Department of Engineering (Synthetic Biology Society)
  • Dr. Oliver Hadeler, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotech
  • Prof. Lisa Hall, Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotech
  • Prof. Florian Hollfelder, Department of Biochemistry
  • Dr. Alexandre Kabla, Department of Engineering
  • Dr. Robert Mullins, Computer Laboratory
  • Dr. Andrew Phillips, Microsoft Research Cambridge
  • Dr. Catherine Rhodes, CSER
  • Ms. Helene Steiner, Cell-Free Tech, Royal College of Art, Open Cell
  • Dr. Somenath Bakshi, Department of Engineering

Strategic Research Initiative Coordinator

  • Alexandra Ting, Department of Plant Sciences