March 2021 Webinar: Synthetic Biology in the Health and Medicine Application Domain

July 20th, 2021

Watch the Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform Webinar featuring Dr Tim Doran and Dr Fatwa Adikusuma.

This webinar was presented in March 2021 as part of the Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform (SynBio FSP) Seminar Series. This webinar covers work in the Health and Medicine Application Domain.

Regular webinars offer information about the latest work from SynBio FSP including funded projects, the work of CSIRO-University Fellows and SynBioFSP PhD students.

Webinar program

Dr Kristie Jenkins, Application Domain Leader, Health and Medicine acknowledged the Traditional Owners and introduced the speakers:

  • Dr Tim Doran (CSIRO Health and Biosecurity) who spoke about developing the chicken egg as a medical device
  • Dr Fatwa Adikusuma (University of Adelaide and CSIRO SynBio FSP) who spoke about CRISPR technology, specifically developing efficient genomic cutting and precise editing.

View on CSIRO’s Vimeo channel

View the transcript

Full biographies and abstracts

Dr Tim Doran, Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Health & Biosecurity


Dr Tim Doran is a Senior Principal Research Scientist in CSIRO Health & Biosecurity and applies biotechnology to animal agriculture. Tim has championed the development of genome engineering and new breeding technologies for applications in livestock industries and is recognized as an international expert in this field. In collaboration with Dr Craig Smith at Monash University, Tim used RNAi technology to solve the long-standing mystery of sex determination in birds and this research was published in Nature. Tim is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Australia.


We are developing a SynBio technology to selectively hatch female chicks which is a high priority for the global egg industry. The male Z sex chromosome provides us with a location to place bio-bricks for the development of the egg as a bioreactor while adding to the value proposition of preventing the culling of male chicks and can be integrated with a large global industry. The humble chicken egg is currently a medical device for the production of vaccines, but eggs for vaccine production are just the beginning. We are developing a programmable platform for novel therapeutics, diagnostic reagents, biologicals for plastic surgery, nutritionally enhanced food products and novel vaccines. Major vaccine manufacturers already have facilities to process eggs at an industrial scale and all of these new possibilities can be manufactured for the cost of chicken feed!

Dr Fatwa Adikusuma, Early Career Researcher, University of Adelaide and CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform


Fatwa completed his PhD from the University of Adelaide and is currently an early career researcher in the University of Adelaide-sponsored Genome Editing Laboratory supported by a fellowship from the CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform. He is a genome engineer, and his research is focused on developing CRISPR genome editing technology particularly for its use in mammalian cells and in mice. He explores CRISPR strategies that promote predictable and efficient DNA editing outcomes. His research also studies how we can efficiently and effectively create genomic mutations using CRISPR technology and develop the CRISPR tools (constructs) to achieve the goal. Additionally, he studies the repair outcomes (mutations) generated after DNA breaks induced by CRISPR endonuclease. The main goal of his research is to create knowledge and technology on genome editing that is widely used for vast applications such as basic research and therapeutics.


CRISPR genome editing technology enables targeted genetic modification of virtually any species with unprecedented efficiency. For biological research, CRISPR technology offers unparalleled opportunities to develop accurate and sophisticated cell and animal models using virtually any species or cell type. In our study, we find a simple yet effective approach to improve editing efficiency when using SpCas9, high-fidelity SpCas9 as well as SaCas9. We also explore the newly invented Prime Editing technique and further develop this technology for highly efficient and user-friendly precise gene editing.