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Synthetic Biology in Cambridge

 

SynBio Student Society

To establish the Cambridge University Synthetic Biology Society (CUSBS) to promote the field of synthetic biology amongst the student community and within schools in Cambridge. To continue development of OpenScope and other open technology projects.

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Open source 3D-printed microscope

Many tasks in biology require tiny, accurate motion – achieved with expensive hardware. We have used inexpensive, 3D printed parts to make high performance mechanisms for low cost science. Our best example is a microscope small and cheap enough to be left in an incubator or fume hood for days or weeks. This will enable new science, for example by observing cells as they grow in an incubator. We will improve this microscope’s imaging capabilities (adding fluorescence and phase contrast) and demonstrate its use in an incubator. We will also show that printed mechanisms can be used for other tasks, for example the mechanical manipulation of micropipettes for microinjection or patch clamping.

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Bio-Hackathon

The Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC) has been running events to support young technologists for the last 13 years. This year our committee is passionate about supporting the transition from idea to prototype in biology and with this in mind we ran a Bio-Hackathon in collaboration with the London Biohackspace and with Bento Bio Works.

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Synthesis of novel optimised lux reporters for eukaryotic systems

This project would build on our previous work identifying and optimizing bacterial luciferases from a variety of marine bacteria. We propose to generate versions of these reporters for eukaryotic systems, including the production of Nanolantern-like systems for lux luciferases.

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CELLUWIN: 3D printing for cellulose

For a feasibility study on creating 3D structures, using raw cellulose as a starting material, as a proof of principle for the use of cellulose as a modern building material.

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Development of a microfluidic device for high-throughput analysis of genetic circuits in plant protoplasts.

This project aims to develop a high-throughput screen for the analysis of promoter sequences driving expression of a reporter gene in plant protoplasts. We envisage this device to be applicable to a range of plant species and cell types, and by coupling it to libraries of regulatory elements identified by DNase-Seq, it will rapidly increase the rate of identifying promoters for biotechnological applications.

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SynBio Hub

The SynBio Hub platform will allow the scientific community to monitor, review and discover the latest developments in synthetic biology Intellectual Property (IP). The open source platform will initially track all IP being published via the US patent office (USPTO) for relevance to synthetic biology.

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A piezoelectric bio-platform to image and stimulate cellular interactions

To develop a novel piezoelectric platform to probe mechanobiological interactions. This pilot project serves to validate the basic process and has several key objectives. The first goal is to successfully grow a viable cell colony on the piezoelectric matrix. If that can be achieved, then we can determine whether or not the traction forces exerted by the cell culture can be detected and monitored as the culture grows.

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Reliable IP-free system for inter-chassis transfer of the high molecular weight DNA

This project aims to develop an IP-free system for transfer of the high molecular weight DNA from E. coli to M. polymorpha. This includes development of the plant-specific iBACs for the reliable transfer and integration of the high molecular weight DNA into the M. polymorpha genome. Alternative methods for interchassis DNA transfer, such as integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) will be also explored.

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CamOptimus

Self-contained user-friendly multi-parameter optimisation platform for non-specialist experimental biologists

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