Synmikro: LOEWE Center for Synthetic Microbiology
Research in synthetic microbiology surpasses the influencing and modification of single genes or proteins and aims at the rational design of synthetic cells with custom-tailored characteristics constructed with standardized building blocks. In this way, new pharmaceuticals or fine chemicals can be synthesized, or cells can be developed for the production of biofuels from difficult to degrade biomass, such as wood and straw. In the search for elementary building blocks, basic insights into the functionality of microorganisms are expected. The synthesis of minimal cells will contribute to answering the question how life is actually defined.
The LOEWE Center for Synthetic Microbiology (SYNMIKRO) consists of groups from the Philipps-Universität Marburg and from the MPI for Terrestrial Microbiology in the areas of microbiology, genetics, medicine, cell biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, informatics, and bioethics.
SYNMIKRO has two goals above all others: First, using synthetic and analytical research approaches, the hitherto rather static component and functional analyses of microbial cells will be further developed to a quantitative, dynamic, and theoretically representable understanding of function. Secondly, an innovative goal should be pursued, following a rational design to synthesize new functional units, to combine them, and to integrate them into the functional apparatus of the cell, in order to produce microorganisms with new characteristics and application potential. A structured doctoral program and programs for promoting equal opportunities round off the interdisciplinary research activities.
Project's website: http://www.uni-marburg.de/synmikro/
Funding: Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst (HMWK), LOEWE
Contact: Matthias Leinweber