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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/L026511/1
Title Sponsorship Award. Cell-by-Cell: On Demand Assembly & Control of Microbial Communities for the Water Industry.
Status Completed
Energy Categories Not Energy Related 85%;
Renewable Energy Sources(Bio-Energy, Production of other biomass-derived fuels (incl. Production from wastes)) 15%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields BIOLOGICAL AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES (Biological Sciences) 80%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (General Engineering and Mineral & Mining Engineering) 20%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr A Pinto
No email address given
Aerospace Engineering
University of Glasgow
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 May 2014
End Date 31 August 2015
Duration 16 months
Total Grant Value £20,162
Industrial Sectors Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology; Water
Region Scotland
Programme NC : Engineering
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr A Pinto , Aerospace Engineering, University of Glasgow (99.998%)
  Other Investigator Dr JFC Windmill , Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Strathclyde (0.001%)
Dr Y Lee , School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University (0.001%)
Web Site
Abstract The water industry has relied on consortia of diverse microorganisms to perform some of its most vital functions (e.g. wastewater treatment, biological drinking water treatment, renewable energy production). These microbial assemblages have provided us with technologies that have not only significantly improved our quality of life, but also reversed the rapid degradation of our environment. The assembly of these complex microbial communities has thus far been guided either by happenstance environmental conditions or through trial-and-error based engineering approaches that are largely top-down in nature. In keeping with this top-down assembly, the function of these communities is also controlled in bulk, such that large-scale environmental effects are engineered to stimulate or inhibit functions of entire groups of microorganisms (e.g. controlling the availability of electron acceptors such as oxygen). We are proposing the development of a new approach that does not rely on happenstance environmental condition or bulk control, but rather engineers the assembly and control of microbial communities from the bottom-up, i.e. on a cell-by-cell basis. Our confidence in this approach is inspired not only by the recent technological breakthroughs in 'omics technologies, synthetic biology and 3D printing; but also a deep respect for the evolutionary processes that have generated the microbial vastness and its metabolic potential around us. Through the EPSRC Sponsorship Award, we propose to catalyze research momentum within our home universities and the UK to start exploring how synthetic microbial community assembly may accomplish, how it may improve existing technologies, and deliver radical technological breakthroughs for the water industry. To do this, we have proposed a series of strategically timed activities (e.g. research visits, workshops, retreats) that will engage the core investigator team in this adventurous research theme by gaining new research expertise and connecting with a broad network of academic and industrial partners from the UK, Europe, and USA
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 17/03/14