EEBio: Efficient Engineering and Control of Predictable and Reliable Biosystems

Our vision is to empower Engineering Biology with those key systems and control engineering methods and tools that will transform it into a mature engineering discipline.

Research at the intersection of biology and engineering has expanded our understanding of living systems and the many unique and valuable capabilities they possess. Scientists and engineers have now begun to harness this knowledge in new ways to address some of humanity's most pressing challenges. For example, using engineered biosystems we can create innovative healthcare solutions, enable more sustainable forms of agriculture, and support clean manufacturing methods.

The emerging field of Engineering Biology aims to harness biology to build technologies for a healthy, sustainable, and equitable future. However, to date the lack of a rigorous biological engineering process has resulted in biosystems that are fragile, unpredictable, and difficult to scale when applied in real-world settings.

Methods from systems and control engineering have enabled rigorous approaches to the design, optimisation, and realisation of other engineered systems, ultimately leading to dramatic economic growth and the creation of entirely new industries. To achieve an equivalent step change in the engineering of reliable and robust biological systems, our programme grant will develop similar control and Artificial Intelligence systems in biotechnology - which we term feedback biocontrollers. These biocontrollers will be designed to operate within cells, between cells, and even to interact with non-biological entities (such as computers), thereby allowing researchers and innovators to efficiently and safely harness engineered biology in its many real-world applications.