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Key Laboratory of Synthetic Biology, CAS

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The Key Laboratory of Synthetic Biology (KLSynB) is a key laboratory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), established in December 2008 through reorganization of the Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology. The Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology was renamed in 2004 by The Laboratory of Molecular Controlling Microbial Secondary Metabolism Research which launched in 1995.

There are more than 60 research scientists working at KLSynB including 14 professors, 15 associate professors and senior technicians. KLSynB now has about 70 graduate students. The Laboratory director is Professor Zhongjun Qinand the Academic Committee director is Professor Shengli Yang. The Laboratory vice director is ProfessorYong Wang and Chen Yang.

The KL-SynB is aiming at performing basic researches for applied synthetic biology. Focusing on the development of both theory and technology for synthetic biology, we have been trying to establish the corresponding key platforms directed towards biological systems, ranging from molecules, cells up to microbiota, to conduct applicable engineering researches with significant impact upon social and economic challenges. We hope that our created “engineered life” may eventually become both efficient and robust enough for industrialization through the scale-up and scale-out translational research.

Three research fields of KL-SynB are detailed as following:

(1) The basic researches for synthetic biology. That includes, exploring theprinciples and methods for designing artificial biological systems (including gene circuits and genomic engineering); studying the nucleic acid bio-apparatus in characterization, design, synthesis and standardization; studying the protein bio-machineries in identification, abstraction, design and optimization; studying the composition and regulation principles of bio-networks and chassis; and development of the whole cell mathematical model (E-Cell) for our engineered minimal genomes.

(2) The innovation of enabling technology and development of engineering platforms for synthetic biology. That includes, establishing standardized and universal bio-parts library/database; development of synthesis and assembly technology for nucleic acid and protein parts; development of efficient genomic manipulation and editing techniques for chassis cells; development of novel detection technology for analyses and verification of small molecules, cellular metabolic networks and phenotyping; development of the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and simulation technology for biological systems; development of technology for bio-modular adaptation to chassis systems and optimization of artificial networks.

(3)Nurturing innovation chains from basic research, technology development, and translational research to synthetic bio-manufacturing. That includes, implementingtheinnovating systems and synthetic biology researches to integrate with practical biotechnology to form engineering biological platforms; implementing the heterologous expression systems of synthetic biology with natural product bio-synthesis R&D for efficient production of important functional metabolites; strengthening the close relationship between research and development to promote industrialization through the translational research mode of "Bed-side to Bench-side to Bed-side, BtoBtoB".

Three levels of development strategy of KL-SynB are detailed as following:

(1) Standing in the frontier of synthetic biology for the development of its theory and technology, to establish and develop the enabling technology platform including the bio-parts library and database with practically efficient standardization.

(2) Actively participating in the strategic planning and project organization for synthetic biology and strengthening the cooperation with international and domestic colleagues, in order to achieve the goal of transforming our status quo of “following the international frontier” to future “real cutting-edge innovation” in the field of synthetic biology.

(3) Response to the national demands in agriculture, medicine, manufacturing, resource and environment, organizing our research projects and realizing the breakthrough of industrialization of synthetic biology manufacturing important biological products, to contribute to national economic and social development.

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