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CORDIS

Directed co-evolution via engineered cell-to-cell communication

Project description

Novel directed evolution approach to advance control over cell signalling pathways

The EU-funded Evolving together project develops an innovative system for directed co-evolution of cellular ligand-receptor pairs. The cell-to-cell directed evolution platform will facilitate the development of synthetic, orthogonal intercellular signalling pathways to enable user-defined expression of target genes. High flexibility in selection of the reporter genes enables full customisation of the downstream cellular response, such as programming self-organised cellular patterns or targeting specific cell populations. The project presents an opportunity to create a directed evolution approach with an impact in various fields of biology and biomedicine.

Objective

The aim of this Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship (Evolving Together) is to develop an innovative new system for directed co-evolution of ligand-receptor pairs in two different cell populations. This novel cell-to-cell directed evolution platform will facilitate the development of synthetic, orthogonal intercellular signaling pathways that can be applied to control and manipulate cells by user-defined expression of a target gene. The selection of the reporter gene can be extremely flexible, which allows full customization of the downstream cellular response, such as programming self-organized cellular patterns or targeting specific cell populations. This Fellowship will be undertaken under the supervision of Prof. Tom Ellis (Imperial College London Centre for Synthetic Biology), who is internationally renowned in synthetic biology and is leading the UK’s effort in the Synthetic Yeast Genome Project (Sc2.0) one of the world’s largest synthetic biology projects to date. My proposed research brings together many aspects of synthetic biology and molecular biology techniques, including molecular cloning, cell culture, protein and genome engineering, directed evolution, and next generation sequencing (NGS). In addition, we will extensively use fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and confocal imaging to isolate and characterize the populations of interest. These techniques combine skills I’ve acquired during previous research along with the expertise and methods of Tom Ellis’ group. Evolving Together presents an opportunity to make a major new innovation in directed evolution that can impact various fields of biology and biomedicine such as signaling, protein engineering, biomaterials, synthetic biology and therapeutics.

Coordinator

IMPERIAL COLLEGE OF SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND MEDICINE
Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
Address
SOUTH KENSINGTON CAMPUS EXHIBITION ROAD
SW7 2AZ LONDON
United Kingdom

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Region
London Inner London — West Westminster
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 212 933,76