POM

Greg Orrom Swan, Louis Alderson-Bythell, Tashia Tucker, Sam Roots

POM is an agricultural technology that encourages flies to be more efficient pollinators. It is designed for a world in which bee pollination is no longer viable, due to declining bee populations.

Flies already play a major role in pollination, accounting for about 30% of pollination overall and a far higher proportion in cities. Flies make more visits to flowers than bees, but the chances of a visit resulting in successful pollination is lower.

POM lures flies using a controlled release of pheromones from a remote-controlled node, which clusters them around the flowers needing pollination. Nodes distributed throughout the farm enable this ‘cloud of flies’ to be shepherded from one region to another, covering all the blossoms that might be in flower at that point. POM ensures both efficient pollination and fruit harvests in the future.

 

Tasty Space

Amber Yinjue Chen, Domenica Landin, Seray Ozdemir, Yena Park.

Based on research showing that astronauts who share the responsibilities of food preparation exhibit decreased levels of anxiety, Tasty Space is looking for new ways to engage future space travelers in the process of cooking and eating in space that builds connections between astronauts, and encourage socialization during meal times.


Cray-Away

Louis Alderson-Bythell, Sam Roots, Greg Orrom Swan, and Tashia Tucker

The introduction of the American Signal Crayfish has had a devastating effect on native fish and crayfish populations in the United Kingdom's inland waterways. Cray-Away is a biological intervention that uses pheromones to combat this invasive species. 


Mycotopia

Naomi Ashworth, Bianca Russo, Carolyn Tam, Larasati Gunyuu and Thomas James

Inspired by the interconnected networks of fungi in soil and plant interaction within these networks, Mycotopia is a mycelial planter system designed to recreate these networks within urban and domestic settings.

Learn more about projects and collaborators on RCA's website.


 

Professors

 

Helene Steiner is a UK based designer and postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research who focuses on human interactions with our (natural) environment. Her research follows a biological approach and looks at opportunities to not only bridge the physical and digital world but also the natural and artificial. Her background is in product design with a master's degree from the Bauhaus University in Weimar. During her time in Vienna she studied under FROG founder Hartmut Esslinger to explore the extension of human bodies with technology and prosthetics. She also has a MA and MSc in Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College in London. She has collaborated with the Tangible Media Group at MIT Media and is a visting lecturer at the Royal College of Art.
 

Thomas Meany is founder and CEO of Cell-Free Technologies, a company producing low-cost kits to do biology anywhere. He was previously an interdisciplinary fellow, jointly hosted by the Dept. Plant Sciences and Chemical Engineering, at the University of Cambridge where he worked at the interface of technology and biology. He is passionate about working at the interface between hardware, software and bioware. 
info@cell-free.tech

 

Dr. Kirsten Jensen
Senior Research Officer/Project Manager SynbiCITE Imperial College London

Dr. Kirsten Jensen has been working in research for over 20 years. She began her career in Hamburg at the Heinrich Pette Institute - Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology, where she worked on the molecular basis of Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia.

She joined Prof Paul Freemont’s group at Imperial College London in 2000. Here she continued her functional studies of the Promyelocytic Leukaemia protein (PML) and PML nuclear bodies, investigating their involvement in mammalian nuclear organisation, and obtaining a PhD. Since 2006, Kirsten has acted as an advisor for the many successful Imperial iGEM teams and became a founding scientist of CSynBI and the Imperial College Synthetic Biology Hub. One of her main research interests in synthetic biology is the development of rapid response biosensors for healthcare applications. Kirsten is now a key part of SynbiCITE where she works as a project manager and is responsible for the day-to-day management of experimental operations and laboratory maintenance, ensuring the smooth operation of the SynbiCITE laboratory and facilities hub. Kirsten is enabling many research and outreach activities within the Synthetic Biology Hub at Imperial College London, and since 2009 has also been advising RCA Design Interactions students on synthetic biology projects.
 

Dr. Michael Crone
Research assistant - Imperial College London

Dr. Michael Crone transitioned into a research-orientated career after initially studying clinical medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2015 he joined Professor Weinberg's group in the HIV Pathogenesis Research Laboratory at the University of the Witwatersrand where he focused on targeting HIV using CRISPR-Cas9. He continued working on RNA-guided DNA binding proteins, in particular Cpf1, at Imperial College London in Professor Paul Freemont's group, obtaining a Masters degree in Systems and Synthetic Biology. Michael is currently a Research Assistant within the Freemont group, working on scarless genome engineering of bacteria and transcriptional and translational regulation in mammalian cells. In September of 2017, he will start a PhD in Synthetic Biology at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne where he is hoping to engineer novel transcription factors for the control of complex gene networks. Gene regulation and genome engineering remain his prime interests and in the future he hopes to combine clinical knowledge and synthetic biology to develop novel therapeutics for clinical applications.

Professor Paul Freemont
Co-Director of the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation, Imperial College London
Co-Director of the UK  Innovation and Knowledge Centre for Synthetic Biology
SynbiCITE - Imperial College London

Professor Paul Freemont is co-director and co-founder of the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation (since 2009) and the National UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre for Synthetic Biology (SynbiCITE; since 2013) at Imperial College London. He is also currently Head of the new Section of Structural Biology in the Department of Medicine at Imperial. His research interests span from understanding the molecular mechanisms of human diseases and infection to applying synthetic biology tools as novel biosensors and is the author of over 200 scientific publications. He is a member of European Molecular Biology Organisation and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and Royal Society of Medicine. He was a co-author of the British Government’s UK Synthetic Biology Roadmap and participated as a technical expert in the United Nations Convention for Biological Diversity and Biological Weapons Convention. He has appeared regularly on radio and television broadcasts on the subject of synthetic biology.

 

 

Banner image: Michael D. Beckwith, The Leeds Library