Key participants in the Groningen initiative are the biochemist Prof. Bert Poolman (director of the new centre), molecular biologist Prof. Roel Bovenberg (also research leader at DSM in Delft), microbiologist Prof. Lubbert Dijkhuizen (director of the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute), organic chemist Prof. Ben Feringa (Jacobus van ’t Hoff Professor of Molecular Sciences), physicist Prof. Jasper Knoester (director of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials) and molecular microbiologist Prof. Arnold Driessen. The key research areas of the CSB are as follows:
- cell factories for producing pharmaceuticals (including antibiotics) and important biological proteins
- systems for controlled drug delivery and new diagnostics
- materials (e.g. biosensors and biochips) based on biological components.
Until recently, biologists, chemists and biochemists were involved in studying complex biological systems. Synthetic biology takes things a step further: cells and cell components are built to a design produced by humans in order to produce specific products or devices. The starting point is not a cell (or cell component) that has evolved, but a synthetic cell (cell component) specifically designed to perform a non-natural function. Among other things, synthesized DNA is used, and natural as well as non-natural building blocks. As in architecture and electrical engineering, cell components (‘BioBricks’) and the production process will be standardized. In the future it may well be possible to build a complete synthetic cell.
Synthetic biology is seen as the ‘third technological revolution’, following on from the chip, the foundation of modern electronics, and biotechnology made possible with the discovery of the structure of DNA. Synthetic biology combines these two earlier developments, thus opening up new and promising possibilities. The University of Groningen therefore believes that it is of great strategic importance to invest in fundamental research that will advance this groundbreaking technology.
The new centre, with four new Synthetic Biology sections, is not alone in this task, but will be supported by the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry, and the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB). In the years to come, the CSB will launch an intensive recruitment campaign to attract top researchers and further steps will be taken to establish cooperative partnerships with knowledge centres and businesses in the Netherlands and abroad.
Jos Speekman | alfa
Lego-like wall produces acoustic holograms
17.10.2016 | Duke University
New evidence on terrestrial and oceanic responses to climate change over last millennium
11.10.2016 | University of Granada
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering