The project – University of Copenhagen

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Center for Synthetic Biology > Research > bioSYNergy > The project

The bioSYNergy Project

Picture of photobioreactor used with permission from designing artist Charles Lee, Bios.

This cross-faculty research initiative is focusing on setting a new path for societal involvement in producing relevant, responsible and ethically sound science. The aim is to use synthetic biology principles to enable controlled construction of  a “plug-and-play” platform for solar energy driven biosynthesis of a multitude high-value compounds, with a market potential for the future globalised bio-based society. Ultimately, the research will provide a sustainable alternative to the fossil fuel-based and highly polluting production systems used currently in the chemical industry.

Research based innovation for societal growth demands close dialogue with the public, as well as with industrial and political stakeholders. To embrace this, we shall establish a novel and integrated bioethics and communications benchmark platform for making society and scientists equipped for constructive dialogue on new technologies and scientific social responsibility. This includes scientific mentoring of do-it-yourself citizen scientists.
 

In addition, research into the challenges faced by synthetic biology in terms of intellectual property will be addressed. Solutions that will enable integration of the bottom-up and open access approaches of synthetic biology with the existing legal framework will be proposed at the national and international level. This will furthermore aide University of Copenhagen to achieve seamless technology transfer with strategic potential to Small-Medium Enterprises and larger industry alike.

Research

‘Plant power: the ultimate way to go green’ is the essence of this cross-faculty research initiative within synthetic biology. Ultimately, the research will provide a sustainable alternative to the fossil fuel-based and highly polluting production systems used currently.

It is based on the “share your parts principle”, enabling controlled construction of new devices and aims at designing a “plug-and-play” platform for solar energy driven synthesis of a multitude of different high-valuable compounds which have competitive edge and market potential for the future globalised bio-based society.

This goal will be reached by transplanting the biosynthesis of these structurally complex molecules from the endoplasmic reticulum to the chloroplast where the process can be driven by the readily available solar energy based reducing power of photosynthesis. Microalgae, mosses and plant cells are developed as new, sustainable and environmental benign production systems.