Health and Medicine

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

Application Domain Leader: Kristie Jenkins

Maintenance of good health, along with prevention and treatment of disease, is an enormous public and private expense in Australia. Synthetic biology has very significant potential to improve human and animal health through novel preventative treatments such as vaccines, diagnostics approaches, such as synthetic biology-enabled reporter systems, and therapeutics, such as antivirals and genetic therapies. Moreover, uptake of advanced technologies in health is much higher for medical applications than in other areas. The potential for impact using synthetic biology in the Health and Medicine area is therefore very high.

The Health and Medicine Application domain is directed towards development of advanced vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and the bio-manufacturing of these reagents. We support novel, technology-enabled approaches to improve current methods and to develop entirely new approaches for innovative human and animal health solutions. As our technologies deal directly with human and animal application systems, we work closely with the Maximising Impact Application Domain to examine social acceptance and ensure adequate consultation for adoption of these new technologies.

By developing synthetic biology capability to impact health related issues, new strategies to prevent and minimise the impact of diseases will take advantage of the current pronounced opportunity for innovation in this field.

Projects by outcome area

Host targeted diagnostics and therapeutics

  • Optogenetic platforms and optical regulation of Oct4: light-controlled reprogramming
  • TICKER: a cellular recorder for longitudinal patient monitoring
  • Developing novel strategies for highly efficient CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing therapy
  • Development of Genome wide Knock Out (GECKO) platform capabilities for Mosquito borne viruses
  • Platform ZED – developing the chicken egg as a medical device

Discovery and control of pathogens

  • A microbial sensing-and-killing platform targeting opportunistic pathogens
  • Eradication of Legionella using virus based seek and destroy
  • Engineering bacteriophages and establishment of a phage therapy platform for targeted and effective control of bacterial biofilms
  • DNA-templated virus-unlike particles