Realising the potential of synthetic biology for health


PhD project

Cell engineering strategies to enhance production of next-generation biologics

Supervisors:  Prof Susan Rosser (, Dr Hannah Florance and Dr Neha Dhami

Prof Rosser is professor of synthetic biology, director of the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology and co-director of the Edinburgh Genome Foundry ( Dr Hannah Florance leads the metabolomics research at the Centre. Dr Neha Dhami is a research scientist in the Protein Sciences group at UCB
To Apply: Interested individuals must follow Steps 1, 2 and 3 at this link on how to apply
Closing date for applications:  Friday 14 July 2017
The Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell is the most widely used industrial expression system, generating ~70% of biopharmaceuticals (including multiple monoclonal antibodies) with a market value >$100 billion. However, many ‘difficult-to-express’ biologics – including novel molecules such as bi- and tri-specific antibodies – give unpredictably lower titres and additional complexities, requiring extensive cell line and process development. Productivity can be compromised by transgene suppression and bottlenecks in translation, trafficking, processing or secretion. The aim of this project is to use a combination of synthetic biology, genetic engineering tools, and modern ‘omics platforms (genomics, metabolomics and proteomics) to discover and address bottlenecks in the production of novel biologics in CHO cells. The student will learn cutting edge gene editing tools (including CRISPR/Cas9), synthetic biology tools and metabolomics and proteomics platforms.