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CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS

Project

Synthetic biology

Project

Synthetic biology

Project Outline

One of the key aims of synthetic biology is to program cells with new functions. To achieve this aim it is necessary to create additional, new components that interact in a programmable manner, both with each other and with the existing cellular network. To engineer these components we have created a number of powerful new genetic selection approaches that can be used to tailor the molecular specificities of genes, RNAs and proteins in bacteria and yeast. Current projects involve manipulating bacteria to efficiently express proteins containing selenium and engineering yeast to produce new antibiotics.

Project

Mammalian gene expression

Project

Mammalian gene expression

Project Outline

From synthesis to destruction, mRNAs are associated with an array of proteins. Proteins control the efficiency of transcription, processing, nuclear export, translation, localization and degradation of mRNA. The importance of regulation at the level of mRNA has become increasingly apparent with the discovery of disease causing defects in these processes. We are using synthetic biology and transcriptomic approaches to engineer and understand mammalian RNA-binding proteins for use as tools in biotechnology and as therapeutics for human diseases.

CURRENT STUDENT PROJECTS

Student Project

Using synthetic biology to create new therapeutics

Student Project

Using synthetic biology to create new therapeutics

Project Outline

The rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, resistance to cancer chemotherapy and the many orphan genetic diseases without any current therapies are creating an increasing burden on our health system and a tragic personal cost to society. Current approaches to discover new medicines, such as high throughput screening of synthetic and natural product libraries, are proving to be increasing ineffective and there is a pressing need for new approaches to discover the next generation of therapeutics. The burgeoning new field of synthetic biology focuses on programming molecules and cells with new and improved functions – using them like Lego blocks. Our team works to harness the tremendous potential of synthetic biology to create new therapeutics for diseases that are resistant to current drugs and for orphan diseases.

Current projects include:
(1) Building designer RNA-binding proteins as protein-based gene therapies;
(2) Hijacking cells to developing new antibiotics to address the rise of “superbugs”;
(3) Manipulating cellular gene expression to better understand how it can become defective in cancer and to provide new therapeutic approaches.

Contact
Professor Oliver Rackham – [email protected]

Chief supervisor
Professor Oliver Rackham

Project suitable for
Honours, Masters and PhD

Essential qualifications
BSc in Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology or similar.

Start date
flexible