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Modelling and Design of Feedback Circuits in Biology

Professor Antonis Papachristodoulou ( Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford )

Feedback control is found extensively in many natural and technological systems. Indeed, many biological processes use feedback to regulate key processes – examples include bacterial chemotaxis and negative autoregulation in genetic circuits. Despite the prevalence of feedback in natural systems, its design and implementation in a Synthetic Biological context is much harder.  In this talk I will give examples of how we implemented feedback systems in three different biological systems. The first one concerns the design of a synthetic recombinase-based feedback loop, which results into robust expression. The second describes the use of small RNAs to post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression through interaction with messenger RNA (mRNA). The third involves the introduction of negative feedback in a two-component signalling system through a controllable phosphatase. Closing, I will outline the challenges posed by the design of such systems, both theoretical and on their implementation.

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