January 15 – Synthetic biology – creating artificial enzymes

    15 January 2018 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    Cambridge Arms, Coldharbour Rd, Westbury Park, Bristol
    Bob Foster
    Science Cafe at the Cambridge Arms.
    Science cafes are informal gatherings in which an expert discusses an interesting science topic – usually one that they’re working on. The goal is to stimulate a lively discussion.

    What’s it about?

    Synthetic Biology has many definitions, but a simple one is designing and constructing biological modules, biological systems, and biological machines for useful purposes.

    In this talk, Dr Ross Anderson will talk about making artificial enzymes.

    Enzymes are essential biological molecules that power cellular life by performing the bulk of the chemical reactions in all living organisms. They also carry out reactions that have commercial or medical value, and for which we have no good man-made alternatives that work with the same precision.

    The design of artificial enzymes that can reproduce or surpass the activities of their naturally evolved counterparts is vital to achieving a deeper, more fundamental understanding of cellular life, while also promising routes to new drugs, therapies and greener industrial processes.
    Most approaches to this end rely on the modification of existing enzymes to impart enhanced or new activities, though my lab believes that such an approach is often compromised by the evolutionary history and baggage that these natural enzymes possess.
    My lab employs an alternative approach to enzyme design, involving the construction of completely artificial enzymes untouched by natural selection.
    In this Science Cafe, I will highlight the importance of these fundamental biomolecules and the opportunities that can arise through a deeper understanding of their functions.
    I will discuss the work of my own group in this field and explore the challenges that we face when designing these complex molecules.

    Who is our speaker?

    Dr Ross Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biochemistry at the University of Bristol and a member of BrisSynBio – a multi-disciplinary Synthetic Biology research centre that is part of the Bristol Biodesign Institute.

    Video from Dek Woolfson – Co-Director of BrisSynBio and the Bristol BioDesign Institute

    An interesting video (made in Australia) on the future of SynBio



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