Professor Tom Ellis

Associate Faculty

Tom Ellis' research interests lie in exploring the role and mechanics of genetic materials to deliver the biological functions cells need for life and health. To this end, his studies encompass synthetic genomics, synthetic biology, genome engineering, the function of DNA sequence, and programming the biosynthesis of materials and therapeutics.

About me

I am fascinated by the potential of synthetic genome engineering and synthetic biology to unravel the interplay of DNA sequence and genomic structure to determine how cells evolve, differentiate and function. My research focuses on developing the foundational tools for accelerating, automating and scaling design-led synthetic genomics and synthetic biology, focusing on research projects in yeast (S. cerevisiae) as well as applied projects in other industrially-relevant and medically-relevant microbes.

As a member of Associate Faculty at the Sanger Institute I am working with fellow Faculty and Associate Faculty in the following key areas:

  • to define the minimum genetic architecture needed to create a fully functioning genome
  • to develop techniques to precisely manipulate and edit large stretches of DNA.

My main research team is based in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, where we have developed and established a range of experimental techniques in synthetic biology, and have published more than 50 papers including work in Cell, Nature Methods, Nature Biotechnology, PNAS and Nature Reviews. I co-lead the teaching of Imperial’s synthetic biology undergraduate module and have won multiple awards for teaching and for supervision of iGEM (international genetically engineered machine) teams.

I lead the UK-funded project to build a synthetic yeast chromosome for the international synthetic yeast project Sc2.0:

For more information about my research and my team at Imperial,  please visit the Tom Ellis Lab Webpage

My timeline


My publications

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