Current Directions in Synthetic Cell Research

  • Pasquale StanoEmail author
  • Giordano Rampioni
  • Francesca D’Angelo
  • Emiliano Altamura
  • Fabio Mavelli
  • Roberto Marangoni
  • Federico Rossi
  • Luisa Damiano
Part of the Lecture Notes in Bioengineering book series (LNBE)


The construction of synthetic cells of minimal complexity is today one of the most attractive and challenging goals in synthetic biology. Synthetic cells are assembled by combining the methods of liposome technology and microfluidics, and components of cell-free systems. In this contribution, we will shortly illustrate the state-of-the-art of synthetic cell research; next we will present some current trends and scenarios, that could lead to a qualitative jump in the next years. In particular, we will focus on the construction of novel multi-compartment vesicles, the achieving of new functions via the reconstitution membrane-bound proteins, the shift from the isolated cell—to the cell population/community perspective, the exploitation of chemical signalling, and the integration of stochastic mathematical models. The ambitious goal of approaching embodied and minimal cognition from this experimental perspective is also shortly mentioned.


Synthetic cell Synthetic biology Lipid vesicles Origins of life 



The authors thank Pier Luigi Luisi (Roma Tre University and ETH Zurich) for inspiring discussions. This work has been stimulated by our involvement in the European COST Action CM-1304 “Emergence and Evolution of Complex Chemical Systems” and TD-1308 “Origins and evolution of life on Earth and in the Universe (ORIGINS)”.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pasquale Stano
    • 1
    Email author
  • Giordano Rampioni
    • 1
  • Francesca D’Angelo
    • 1
  • Emiliano Altamura
    • 2
  • Fabio Mavelli
    • 2
  • Roberto Marangoni
    • 3
  • Federico Rossi
    • 4
  • Luisa Damiano
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Sciences DepartmentRoma Tre UniversityRomeItaly
  2. 2.Chemistry DepartmentUniversity of BariBariItaly
  3. 3.Biology DepartmentUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Chemistry and BiologyUniversity of SalernoSalernoItaly
  5. 5.ESARG (Epistemology of the Sciences of the Artificial Research Group), Department of Ancient and Modern CivilizationsUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  6. 6.CERCO (Centre for Research on Complex Systems)University of BergamoBergamoItaly

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