Applied and environmental microbiology
Environmental microbiology is the study of the composition and physiology of microbial communities in the environment. An understanding of these natural processes is fundamental for comprehension of ecosystem function and application to biotechnology, bioremediation and bioenergy.
Synthetic biology allows the design and construction of biological systems for specific tasks and purposes. One such application is the development of biosensors. Biosensors are 'biological devices' that are designed to identify, detect and report specific analytes. The rapid detection of nefarious substances in real-time is essential to prevent harm to the environment, agriculture, industry and human health.
Current research aims include:
- Production of novel biobricks and sensory units
- Use of environmentally relevant microbial chassis
- Detection of heavy metals within the environment
- Integration of whole-cell biosensors with bioelectric systems