Application Domains

Our research program is focussed around five Application Domains:

Foundation Technologies

Domain Leader: Claudia Vickers

For SynBio to progress and deliver on its promise, a dependable set of tools and building blocks is required. Projects in the Foundation Technologies Application Domain are developing these components across a range of organisms and systems. One of several focus areas is plastids (mitochondria and chloroplasts) and endosymbionts, which offer some extremely attractive features as delivery vehicles for novel ‘code’ to repurpose eukaryotic cells.

This program of work will focus on developing the tools and technologies necessary to engineer novel systems and deploy highly desirable traits.

Environment & Biocontrol

Domain Leader: Owain Edwards

SynBio has the potential to revolutionise our capacity to control our environment by modifying the resilience of species under threat, altering the capacity of insects to vector human disease or controlling populations of invasive species. Australia’s unique geographical and regulatory environments, combined with CSIRO’s world class capabilities in the environmental and biocontrol sciences, give CSIRO considerable competitive advantage in this area.

Projects in this program of work will contribute to a world class capability in delivering environmental and biocontrol solutions based on SynBio technologies.

Chemicals & Fibres

Domain Leader: Colin Scott

SynBio will have a significant role in providing substantial and disruptive technologies to our traditional industries, including chemical and fibre manufacture. In future, manufacture of many chemicals will be achieved via biological routes, this will include new chemicals that are currently unobtainable or impractical via traditional chemical syntheses. Many traditional fibre production systems and chemical manufacturing processes will be supplanted by more efficient and intensified biological systems and processes through SynBio, and new or highly modified versions of extant fibres and chemicals will become accessible through the advanced bioengineering capability of SynBio. To compete Australia must become leading in these areas as they relate to Australia’s traditional economic strengths.

Projects in this program of work will contribute to a world class SynBio capability in delivering production and manufacturing innovations in the fibres and chemicals space.

Health & Medicine

Domain Leader: Andrew Bean

The emerging tools of SynBio have the potential to advance medical breakthroughs and deliver new health innovations. SynBio may help solve some of the most difficult global health challenges with alternative approaches to vaccine and drug creation, diagnostics, and combinations of interventions within a single biological system.

Projects in this program of work aim to design new synthetic biology tools and platforms that could further global health research.

Maximising Impact

Domain Leader: Aditi Mankad

Synthetic biology applications are potentially disruptive and include genetic alteration of living cells. In order to deliver impact from these technologies, an understanding of socio-environmental needs and impacts is critical to the successful development and deployment of appropriate, acceptable and socially responsible SynBio solutions.

Research aligned with the Maximising Impact Application Domain includes projects examining multidimensional understanding of public values, acceptance and decision-making (individual and societal); community engagement; environmental risk assessment; general technology risk assessment; ethical considerations; governance and regulatory issues; and policy and legal framework/considerations; and science communication.