Getting on the Path to Engineering Biology

  • Pablo Carbonell
Part of the Learning Materials in Biosciences book series (LMB)


A new form of engineering biology has become possible. Rising as one of the most exciting scientific achievements of the last decade, this technology has come a long way from its early starts as garage biology into defining a novel paradigm in biotechnology. Nowadays, synthetic biology is a burgeoning technology bringing together biologists, biochemists, computer scientists, physicists, industrial engineers, economists and sociologists. Metabolic pathway design has been at the core of such revolution. Pathway designers envisioned a new discipline where labs exchanged biological circuits through the cloud; where labs embraced automation and artificial intelligence as their core technologies. You are welcome to join this new biotechnology revolution. Your role as a metabolic pathway designer is to master bio-CAD tools in order to rigorously explore the design space of bio-based chemical production. To do that, you need first to understand the basic principles of modeling, simulation and optimization, the basic functioning of the cell, the main concepts of systems and synthetic biology, as well as the basic protocols of biotechnology. As a first introduction, this chapter provides an overview of the design principles of automated synthetic biology as well as the perspectives that such new technology will bring in for all of us.


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Further Reading

  1. Some good introductions to biochemistry and molecular cell biology 1:Google Scholar
  2. Berg, J.M., Tymoczko, J.L., Stryer, L.: Biochemistry. Freeman (2011)Google Scholar
  3. Lodish, H., Berk, A., Zipursky, S.L., Matsudaira, P., Baltimore, D., James Darnell, J.: Molecular Cell Biology. Freeman (2013).Google Scholar
  4. Nelson, D.L., Cox, M.M.: Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry. Freeman (2013)Google Scholar
  5. Alberts, B., Johnson, A., Lewis, J., Raff, M., Roberts, K., Walter P.: Molecular Biology of the Cell. Garland Science (2014)Google Scholar
  6. Some introductions to biotechnology recommended for this textbook:Google Scholar
  7. Villadsen, J., Nielsen, J., Lidén, G.: Bioreaction Engineering Principles. Springer (2011)Google Scholar
  8. Villadsen, J., Lee, S.Y., Nielsen, J. (ed.): Fundamental Bioengineering. John Wiley (2016)Google Scholar
  9. Renneberg, R., Berkling, V., Loroch, V.: Biotechnology for Beginners. Springer (2016)Google Scholar
  10. In order to know more about synthetic biology:Google Scholar
  11. Smolke, C., Lee, S.Y., Nielsen, J. (ed.): Synthetic Biology: Parts, Devices and Applications. John Wiley (2016)Google Scholar
  12. Nesbeth, D.N.: Synthetic Biology Handbook. CRC Press (2016)Google Scholar
  13. Baldwin, G., Bayer, T., Dickinson, R., Ellis, T., Freemont, P.S., Kitney, R.I., Polizzi, K., Stan, G.B.: Synthetic Biology – A Primer. World Scientific (2015)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pablo Carbonell
    • 1
  1. 1.Manchester Institute of BiotechnologyUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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