The mathematics of life:
Metabolic control in living cells

The mathematics of life: Metabolic control in living cells

Cellular metabolism is a complex network of chemical processes that convert nutrients into energy and molecules for survival. Advances in experimental and mathematical techniques are paving the way for quantitative descriptions of how metabolism regulates itself and of how it can be artificially controlled for biotechnology. Dr Diego A. Oyarzún (University of Edinburgh) uses computational models to understand metabolism, and to […]

Read More…

Machine metaphors: Ethical and philosophical challenges in synthetic biology

The emerging field of synthetic biology faces a growing need for conceptual clarification and ethical deliberation. Dr Joachim Boldt from the University of Freiburg has analysed the use of machine metaphors in describing biological systems, and how language affects the approaches we have towards synthetic biology research. In addition to oversimplifying biological systems, machine metaphors can create new biosafety risks and […]

Read More…

Synthetic cells have senses too

this article is about Prof Liu and Prof Noireaux’s project aim is to construct synthetic cells, consisting of a cell-free expression system encapsulated into a cell-sized phospholipid vesicle, capable of sensing the environment through its lipid bilayer by expressing mechanosensitive channels.

What defines a living cell? How to capture the molecular essence of life? These fundamental questions underpin the collaborative research programme led by Prof Allen Liu at the University of Michigan and Prof Vincent Noireaux at the University of Minnesota. The pair uses molecular components to construct prototypes of synthetic cells displaying the minimal characteristics of life. Their ‘cell analogs’ […]

Read More…