Network-Scale Engineering: Systems Approaches to Synthetic Biology

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Network-Scale Engineering: Systems Approaches to Synthetic Biology

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Title: Network-Scale Engineering: Systems Approaches to Synthetic Biology
Author: Boyle, Patrick M.
Citation: Boyle, Patrick M. 2012. Network-Scale Engineering: Systems Approaches to Synthetic Biology. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: The field of Synthetic Biology seeks to develop engineering principles for biological systems. Modular biological parts are repurposed and recombined to develop new synthetic biological devices with novel functions. The proper functioning of these devices is dependent on the cellular context provided by the host organism, and the interaction of these devices with host systems. The field of Systems Biology seeks to measure and model the properties of biological phenomena at the network scale. We present the application of systems biology approaches to synthetic biology, with particular emphasis on understanding and remodeling metabolic networks. Chapter 2 demonstrates the use of a Flux Balance Analysis model of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae metabolic network to identify and construct strains of S. cerevisiae that produced increased amounts of formic acid. Chapter 3 describes the development of synthetic metabolic pathways in Escherichia coli for the production of hydrogen, and a directed evolution strategy for hydrogenase enzyme improvement. Chapter 4 introduces the use of metabolomic profiling to investigate the role of circadian regulation in the metabolic network of the photoautotrophic cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942. Together, this work demonstrates the utility of network-scale approaches to understanding biological systems, and presents novel strategies for engineering metabolism.
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