With this project, we aim to develop chemical editing tools for biological systems.

Cellular processes, such as movement or cell-cell communication dominate many functions in higher organisms but are only understood in gross terms. Control of cells through the “editing” of functional biomolecules could allow reprogramming of events as diverse as inflammatory response to tissue formation.

We are developing methods to break and form bonds in vitro and in vivo that can be applied to, for example, selective change of proteins and glycans. These include attractive targets such as proteoglycans for such chemical editing as their complexity prevents precise control by biological methods. Intracellular applications can also be explored for epigenetic programming allowing de novo cellular epigenetic control of chromosomal gene expression and transmission in living cells and organisms. Other live applications include the design of conditionally-responsive functional groups and their chemical editing to invent a new generation of “biologics” programmed to respond to multiple stimuli and signals; these and other synthetic biological constructs that can be controlled and programmed using Chemistry based on an understanding of Biology form translational outputs that we call ‘synthetic biologics’.

Project team members at The Franklin:

Ben Davis

Nan Yang

Andrew Giltrap

Alex Gafitescu

Mateusz Imiolek

Yibo Zeng

Chao Xue

Alice Bedwell

Funded by:

Novo Nordisk

The UK Catalysis Hub

Rosetrees Fund

EU IMI2 Initiative

BBSRC