Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Universiteit of Groningen launches research centre for synthetic biology

14.03.2008
The University of Groningen now has a Centre for Synthetic Biology (CSB). Synthetic biology is a new phase in biotechnology in which biologists, bioinformaticians, chemists, physicists and engineers work together to construct the elements of a biological cell using chemical and biochemical building blocks. Over the next five years, the University of Groningen will invest EUR 2 million per year in the new research centre.

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.

BioBricks

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.

Potential

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.

Support

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
Further information:
http://www.rug.nl

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht A Dream for the Future: “Flying with Green Fuel"
25.07.2018 | Universität Bremen

nachricht Investigating cell membranes: researchers develop a substance mimicking a vital membrane component
25.05.2018 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>