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Genomics Forum · Research

Synthetic Biology

Emma Frow

Start date


Funded by

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)


Synthetic biology is an emerging discipline at the interface of engineering, biology and IT/electronics. Principal research interests in synthetic biology include (1) rational and systematic design and construction of new biological parts, devices and systems, and (2) the re-design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes.

Four UK Research Councils (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC and ESRC) have recently established seven Networks for Synthetic Biology. The SynBioStandards Network is being coordinated by Alistair Elfick (Edinburgh), Emma Frow (Edinburgh) and Jim Haseloff (Cambridge), and has several members from the EGN.


The SynBioStandards Network is an innovative and interdisciplinary network for UK academics working in synthetic biology. Pulling together researchers from the worlds of engineering, biological sciences, computer science and the social sciences, the Network aims to create a space for them to share ideas, and to develop a common language and set of tools for synthetic biology research. Activities of the Network are primarily concerned with issues relating to standards and characterisation in synthetic biology. This is one of the main challenges faced by synthetic biology researchers.

The SynBioStandards Network is funded for three years from June 2008. The members initially represented in this Network are from Imperial College London, and the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.

Project update

Visit the SynBioStandards Network website for events, news stories, publications databases, and more. The Network also has an active wiki for members to share information and engage in technical discussions. If you would like to join the Network and/or the wiki discussions, please contact Emma Frow.