Helping to grow synthetic biology collaboration by leveraging international funding

Synthetic Biology is an emerging technology that will have a significant impact on practices in global health, safety and Defence and National Security.

DSI’s support has facilitated a strategic collaborative research program in Synthetic Biology between DSTO and the university sector (LaTrobe University, University Technology Sydney, Macquarie University and Garvan Institute of Medical Research), through workshops, seed funding and advocacy.

The initiative aims to develop novel genome editing technologies (PLATEs) and flexible biosensor modules for use across anaerobic and soil associated microorganisms and further develops synthetic biology capacities in Victorian state and more widely in Australia. This will result in:

  • New platform technology that expands our abilities to sense explosives and biological warfare agents.
  • Better approaches to protecting the ecology, agriculture and health of terrestrial, maritime and agricultural areas at risk from economic and environmental damage.

The tools and techniques generated from this program will enable DSTO scientific staff to update their knowledge and skills and continue providing technical assessments for major future capability projects.

Dr Gulay Mann, DSTO’s lead scientist in synthetic biology, says “This program will position DSTO/ADO to provide credible advice on the significance of Synthetic Biology as an emerging Science and Technology to Australian Government (National Security and intelligence communities). DSI funding of the initial PhD studentship at LaTrobe University and the first discovery workshop has been core to the development of this strategic research initiative.”