Professor Tom Ellis
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.
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: http://syntheticyeast.org/
For more information about my research and my team at Imperial, please visit the Tom Ellis Lab Webpage
Professor at the Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London
Joined the Sanger Institute as a member of Associate Faculty
Appointed to UK Government Scientific Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification
Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
Reader at the Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London
Senior Lecturer at the Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London
Lecturer at the Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London
Postdoc in synthetic biology at the Institute of Biotechnology at University of Cambridge
Postdoc in Jim Collins' synthetic biology group at Boston University: devised a synthesis-based library approach to engineering gene regulatory networks and applied it to nonlinear systems and to phenotypes relevant to biofuel and beer production
Senior Scientist at Spirogen Ltd: set up a biological screening unit and developed high-throughput assays to characterise the interactions between drugs and oncogene promoters
Finished PhD under Michael J. Waring, at the University of Cambridge: examined drugs that bind directly to the promoter elements of cancer gene