Martin Fussenegger - Biotechnology and Bioengineering

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Biotechnology and Bioengineering Research

Synthetic Biology: From Biotechnology to Human Therapy


Human diseases originate from spontaneous, environmentally-triggered or pathogen-induced perturbations of endogenous expression or signaling networks, and often result in disabling or fatal pathologies. Currently available treatment concepts include administration of small-molecule drugs or biopharmaceuticals, reprogramming of genetic deficiencies using gene-transfer technologies, and implantation of engineered cells or tissues. Focusing on engineering of mammalian cells using synthetic biology principles we are designing the treatment strategies of the future.


  • Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing: Design of prototypic biopharmaceutical manufacturing strategies by integrating engineering of mammalian production cell lines for increased secretion of high-quality biologics with upstream process development.
  • Synthetic Gene Switches: Design of novel trigger-inducible transgene expression systems for precise dosing of in-situ production of protein therapeutics.
  • Synthetic Lineage Control: Rational programming of stem cell differentiation and transdifferentiation of multipotent cells to achieve therapeutically relevant cell phenotypes for cell-based therapies.
  • Drug Discovery: Discovery of novel cytostatic, immunosuppressive and anti-infective drugs using engineered mammalian sensor proteins and tissue culture systems.
  • Gene Networks: Design of complex synthetic gene networks to program dynamic control of key metabolic networks in mammalian cells and tissues.
  • Programmable Biocomputers: Design of input-programmable genetic devices with digital expression logic that may interface and communicate with electronic devices.
  • Non-Neural Optogenetics: Light-controlled transgene expression to program cellular and tissue behaviour.
  • Prosthetic Gene Networks: Assembly of closed-loop metabolic control circuits that sense disease metabolites and coordinate therapeutic protein production in a seamless and automatic manner.
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Sat Jun 24 09:03:07 CEST 2017
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