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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R043787/1
Title: LIVEBIO: Light-weight Verification for Synthetic Biology
Principal Investigator: Konur, Dr S
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Digital Health Enterprise Zone (DHEZ) Newcastle University University of Nottingham
University of Sheffield
Department: Faculty of Engineering and Informatics
Organisation: University of Bradford
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 August 2018 Ends: 31 July 2021 Value (£): 352,363
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Design Engineering Synthetic biology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Jun 2018 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 13 and 14 June 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The 21th century will be the age of Biology, tackling global challenges, including -but not limited to- understanding and curing diseases, repairing defective genes, combining natural and synthetic tissues, enhancing crops with biotechnologies, reproducing organs using stem cells, etc. [Chief Scientific Adviser to The President of the EU Commission].

Synthetic Biology (SB), referring to the design and engineering of biological components and systems that do not already exist in the natural world, will play a key role in addressing these challenges by providing a radical step-change in our ability to design and construct multi-scaled biological systems.

Along with the advances in the wet lab and computational methods, the functionality and complexity of SB systems are steadily growing, which brings in a major issue: the likelihood that faults and flaws existent in these systems. This can result in the construction of bio-parts and components that are faulty by design.

At the moment, there are no established methods in SB to find errors and verify correctness. The current practice is limited to understanding the sub-cellular molecular machinery in wet-lab environments, which is costly and extremely slow. The existing computational approaches for analysing biological processes mainly rely on simulation; but many important system properties cannot be inferred using this method. Also, simulation tells the "existence of errors, not their absence". So, it is not an efficient method to guarantee the system correctness.

LIVEBIO aims to pave the way for the next generation verification of large and complex synthetic bio-systems. The novel approach proposed in this project will permit rapid verification of complex SB systems, and provide increased assurance and trust when building new synthetic biology systems. The project will deliver an authentic and systematic certification guideline, which will allow biologists to certify their genetic parts & components and reuse them in different systems.

LIVEBIO will contribute towards biological studies (in particular, Synthetic Biology) by extending the existing portfolio of computational approaches with novel verification methods, techniques and tools. It will also contribute towards Computer Science by developing cutting-edge activities through an emerging and promising inter-disciplinary work. The impact will go beyond the project partners, and will reach national and international communities.

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Organisation Website: http://www.brad.ac.uk