Imperial hosts cross-discipline forum

ImperialCollegeLondon yesterday held the first Autumn Symposium on Systems and Synthetic Biology, a field which fuses science and engineering with biological and medical research.

The symposium is the first major international event hosted by Imperial’s Institute of Systems and Synthetic Biology which was founded in April 2007. The Institute’s goal is to help the college’s experts in engineering, physical sciences, mathematical and computer-modelling work together to better solve biological and medical problems.

Speakers from top universities in the UK, USA and Europe, and leading pharmaceutical companies, addressed a wide range of systems and synthetic biology at the symposium, from the level of individual cells and molecules, up to organs and physiological systems, and the development of new technologies using these techniques.

Speakers from Imperial included Prof Paul Freemont, who discussed the college’s latest research in synthetic biology to engineer a biologically-based infection detector. This liquid-based device, which is applied to the outside of hospital catheters, glows red to alert doctors to early-stage infections on the catheter.

Opening the symposium, Imperial’s Rector Sir Richard Sykes said: ‘Our American colleagues are currently very much at the forefront of this science – I hope they won’t mind too much when I say that Imperial intends to be right there with them.’