The University of Manchester is the largest single-site university in the UK, with research strengths across all scientific disciplines.
The Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB): As the first university-based, purpose-built interdisciplinary research institute of its kind in the UK and one of the leading biotechnology research institutes in the world, MIB is an industry-interfaced institute with a strong international profile and global reach that is driving bio-based chemicals synthesis, and is a widely acknowledged beacon of interdisciplinary bioscience with internationally recognized unrivaled facilities.
Based within the MIB, the Research Council UK funded (>£10M) Synthetic Biology (SynBio) Research Centre, SYNBIOCHEM, which is harnessing SynBio to develop faster, more predictable, novel routes for fine and specialty chemicals production to deliver new chemical diversity towards scale-up and industrial manufacturing, likely to impact across many sectors (e.g. healthcare, energy, green chemistry, pharmaceuticals and novel materials). The Centre unites 29 University of Manchester academic groups and provides a suite of fully integrated “Design/Build/Test” technology and Data management platforms whilst addressing emerging societal, ethical, and regulatory challenges (Responsible Research and Innovation, RRI) associated with this rapidly advancing technology.
SYNBIOCHEM is differentiated from other academic centres by strengthening its SynBio capabilities with a deep understanding of catalysis/chemical science, mechanistic and systems biology, data management, computation and informatics – all globally recognised strengths in MIB. This enables SYNBIOCHEM to rapidly expand, implement and integrate its frontier knowledge of enzyme design, directed evolution and retrosynthetic methodology into its synthetic biology workflows, which pulls away from automated ‘cut and paste’ biology that is often a central feature of foundries.
The evidence base for the competitive standing of SYNBIOCHEM is outstanding: 263 peer reviewed publications (many in Nature, Science and similar journals); a spin-out company, multiple patents, disclosures and commercial activities; a pipeline of innovative technologies/software developments; a widely adopted data management infrastructure; multiple industry/international co-development partnerships; a large postgraduate training school (160 registered since 2014); and additional competitive funding (£33M) to sustain future activities.
The University of Manchester's key contributions to the ShikiFactory100 project include: computational bioretrosynthesis, automated strain engineering, selection of target molecules and pathways for production upscaling. They are leaders of Work Package 6: Rapid Prototyping and Screening, and key contributors to Work Package 2: Retrosynthesis & Enumeration, Work Package 4: Gene Discovery and Protein Engineering, and Work Package 7: Cell Factory Construction.
The Principal Investigator for The University of Manchester in the ShikiFactory100 project is Prof. Rainer Breitling.
Find out more about the University of Manchester here.