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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/G042462/1
Title: The CHELL : A Bottom-Up approach to in vitro and in silico Minimal Life-like Constructs
Principal Investigator: Alexander, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Martin, Professor P Krasnogor, Professor N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Professor W Wang
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Pharmacy
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 28 September 2009 Ends: 30 September 2013 Value (£): 729,420
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biological & Medicinal Chem. Synthetic biology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Healthcare
Related Grants:
EP/G026130/1 EP/G026688/1
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 Nov 2008 Engineering Systems Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This work is directed towards generating artificial objects that have properties mimicking those of biological cells. Specifically we set out to test if it is possible for an artificial cell to imitate a natural cell in terms of responding to biological signals. We do not aim to produce an artificial life-form but rather we seek to evaluate whether some processes (signals) that natural cells use can be imitated by the synthetic cells such that the natural cells are unable to tell the difference. The work will involve the modelling, design, preparation and evaluation of capsule-like structures using a combination of compuer science, chemistry, materials science, with a further focus on potential ethical and social aspects of artificial cellular systems. The cell-imitating capsules will contain chemistries we can use as models of signalling ands metabolism, and will be designed such that we can use the capsules and signals to/from them in 'conversations' and 'imitation games' with real cells.The work is intended as fundamental curiosity-driven investigation and addresses the scientific, societal and ethical aspects of minimal-life constructs, However, there are many potential spin-outs of this work if we show that it is indeed possible to 'talk' to natural cells via artificial capsules. Examples might include 'smart' antibiotics, drug carriers for locally-directed therapies and intelligent materials for tissue repair.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
Date Materialised
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Project URL: http://www.test-tube.org.uk/videos/pages_meet_cameron_alexander.htm
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk