LBIK10207U Synthetic Biology
MSc Programme in Biochemistry
MSc Programme in Biotechnology
MSc Programme in Biotechnology with a minor subject
MSc Programme in Molecular Biomedicine
Synthetic biology applies a novel conceptual framework to
biology. By introducing engineering concepts, synthetic biology
forms the basis for new developments in medicine, pharmaceutical
science, plant biology, sustainable development, and material
science. Fundamental technologies that are central to synthetic
biology include: DNA synthesis, high-throughput genetic
manipulation methods, facile access to off-the-shelf standardized
biological parts, registries and foundries of parts, and
computer-aided genetic design. Advanced tools that enable the
integration of basic synthetic units into multi component devices
are continuously being developed, and a variety of modern
analytical techniques and computational tools are applied in the
design and testing of new systems. It is foreseen that synthetic
biology will adderess several of the world’s most pressing
The course will bridge across different areas of contemporary synthetic biology. It will start from metabolic engineering of organisms for the production of high-value compounds and continue to explore topics at the frontier of synthetic biology, such as biosensors, gene circuits, synthetic metabolism, synthetic evolution, minimal organisms, etc. Some examples of topics covered in the course are given below:
1. General concepts and enabling technologies for synthetic biology
2. Plant metabolic engineering
3. Engineering photosynthetic organisms for light-driven synthesis
4. Yeast metabolic engineering for the production of high-value compounds
5. Single molecule fluorescence microscopy for the analysis of synthetic biosystems
6. Lipid membranes as tools for synthetic biology
7. Whole-cell biosensors
8. Engineering and evolution of synthetic metabolic pathways
Beside the selected topics, the course includes a journal club where hot topics in synthetic biology are discussed.
In addition to the lectures, a focal part of the course is the development of specific case studies by the students. In groups, the students are invited to bring their own synthetic biology ideas to life by conceiving and designing a complete synthetic biology project. The case studies include the complete activities from conceptualization to experimental design, intellectual property issues, commercialization strategy, communication and human practices, ethical aspects, and consideration of biosecurity issues.
Participants will obtain broad knowledge on the main
subject areas of synthetic biology with emphasis on
interdisciplinary studies. A wide variety of topics in metabolic
engineering, biochemistry, protein engineering, biotechnology,
nano-technology, and structural biology will be covered. These
insights will develop creativity and the ability to work across
disciplines. By introducing advanced techniques from various
research areas, students will acquire practical skills that can be
applied to other research fields. The course will enhance group
collaboration and interdisciplinary communication.
1. Understanding of the basic concepts of synthetic biology.
2. Acquisition of the common vocabulary essential for synthetic biology (e.g. standard part, chassis, etc.).
3. Familiarization with specific scientific, ethical, and regulatory aspects.
4. Knowledge of the prospects of combining biology with engineering and technology.
5. Broad insight and coherent knowledge on interdisciplinary research.
6. Familiarization with the most recent published literature in the field and insight into ongoing research.
1. Understand how fundamental tools can be applied to the engineering of biology.
2. Identify aspects of biotechnology that faciltate or prevent the faster, reliable programming of natural systems.
3. Understand current and future applications of synthetic biology.
4. Apply fundamental laboratory approaches into engineering biology.
5. Ability to engage in interdisciplinary research.
6. Preparation of reports and proper handling of scientific literature.
1. Ability to apply synthetic biology concepts and principles to solve a real life problem or develop new applications.
2. Ability to discuss the public concerns and ethical dilemmas and the potential solutions offered by synthetic biology.
3. Capability to find a solution for a problem and work independently.
4. Able to apply the concepts and techniques of synthetic biology to other subjects at a high academic level.
5. Able to work efficiently in a collaborative work situation.
6. Ability to prepare and present oral and written work.
A combination of original research papers, review articles and laboratory manual
- Theory exercises
- Practical exercises
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Oral examination, 25 min (no preparation time)Individual oral examination based on presentation of case study and discussion of and questions to the written experimental reports and to synthetic biology in general.
Weight: Oral examination 100%
- Exam registration requirements
The exam requires submission of one case study and one approved written experimental report.
The case study will be developed during the course, handed in to the course organiser, and presented to the group before the examination.
The lab report will be on practical work carried out in the course, and has to be handed in and approved before the exam.
- All aids allowed
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
Several internal examinators
Reexam as ordinary exam.
If the requirements are not met a report on a given topic must be handed in no later than 2 weeks before the re-exam.
Criteria for exam assesment
See learning outcome