UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Industrial Synthetic Biology

Course Title BENGM015
Level Four
Credits 0.5
Course Tutors Dr Darren Nesbeth
Assessment Two-hour examination (80%)
Two in-course tests (20%)


Following completion of this course, you will be able to: effectively navigate and select standardised biological parts from online repositories such as the BioBrick Registry; understand the role of DNA editing and analysis software such as ApE and 4Peaks in the construction of standardised biological devices; devise Synthetic Biology solutions to bioprocessing challenges at a high level of experimental detail; design host cells as platforms or chassis to supplant some of the current downstream processing steps for the production of therapeutics in industry. In addition, you will have the opportunity to design pathways de novo, using online genome data resources, for the production of high value/chiral chemicals, taking the acquired expertise into industry to work as developers of standardised bio-based solutions alongside life scientists in real biomanufacturing companies.

Learning Hours


Lectures: 30h
Seminars/problem classes/tutorials: 12h


Engineering Biology: Introduction to standardised approaches to recombinant DNA technology; Exploration advantages and disadvantages of selected different standards/formats. Building Biology: Chells, Synthia Advances in custom DNA synthesis and biophysics enabling development of artificial and synthetic cells Re-designing biology: Minimal genomes, orthogonal genetic codes. Introduction to the development of genome reduction and re-coding tools and potential industrial benefits and new technologies. Metabolic Engineering: Biological concepts underlying metabolic engineering in research and commercial settings. Introduction to Research Methods: Includes navigation and utilisation of KEGG and EcoCyc online datasets Synthetic Gene Networks: Introduction the underlying biology and mathematics of synthetic gene networks. Industrial challenges, Synbio solutions: Detailed review of commercial examples of the deployment of Synthetic Biology to meet industrial challenges.