Our expertise





Our international team of world leading researchers are developing a new field in Synthetic Biology, termed ‘Portabolomics’. We are taking a novel approach to standardise the connection between a given genetic circuit and the chassis organism by the development of a ‘bio-adapter’. This will negate the need to re-engineer and re-test the circuit when moving it to another organism (or chassis).

Portabolomics is at the crossroads of the digital and bio economies and a true breakthrough in the portability of living systems – we want synthetic biologists to be able to engineer new microbial systems in the lab and then port these directly into another species on a large scale without the risk of any unpredictable outcomes.

A range of state-of-the-art computing approaches will be applied to understand the networks of molecular processes that occur in a bacterial cell. Together with our wet lab expertise in bacterial replication, transcription and translation we hope to develop a new system of major value to synthetic biology research and industry.

In parallel researchers in our team will explore the ethical, legal and social issues to inform a responsible design process for current and future work.





The mission of the ICOS group is to carry out ground breaking research at the interface of computing science and complex biological systems. We seek to create the next generation of algorithms that provide innovative solutions to problems arising in natural complex systems (e.g. in biology, chemistry, physics) as well as synthetic ones (e.g. in biological engineering, health care, software engineering) and derive new knowledge from them. To accomplish its mission, the group leverages its interdisciplinary expertise in Machine Intelligence, Complex Systems and Computational Biology and pursues collaborative activities with relevant stakeholders.

We aspire to be amongst the top 10 world’s bio-complexity computing science groups.

 Interdisciplinary Computing and Complex Biosystems (ICOS)



The Centre is based on world-class expertise across all Newcastle University’s faculties.

We have world-leading expertise in:

  • computational and model-based design of synthetic systems
  • development of synthetic bacterial systems
  • core synthetic biology disciplines

Our core synthetic biology disciplines include computing science, bioinformatics, Bio CAD/CAM, engineering, responsible innovation (ELSI, ELSA) and cell biology.

Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy (CSBB)