University of Oxford, UK

Tentative title: Development and applications of simple cells (SimCells) as reprogrammable cellular machinery

Dr Wei Huang joined University of Oxford in 2014 as associate professor at Department of Engineering Science. He is also an EPSRC Fellow on Synthetic Biology and Fellow of St Edmund Hall College. Before that, he was a lecture and senior lecturer at University of Sheffield 2007-2014. He is focused on synthetic biology, systems biology and single cell biotechnology. He has been appointed as a visiting professor at Beijing Normal University, Beijing Genomic Institute (BGI) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He aims to establish a novel bioengineering platform for synthetic biology - Simple Cell System (SimCells). A SimCell is a genetically reprogrammable “artificial cellular machine”, or ‘bio-robot’, performing advanced bioengineering functions in an easy-to-use, safe-to-handle, and reliable-to-build manner. SimCells have been used as novel biosensors for detection of environmental pollutants, energy, medical diagnosis and therapy. He is one of the pioneers on single cell Raman biotechnology, developing Raman-stable isotope probing (Raman-SIP), Raman-fluorescent in-situ hybridisation (Raman-FISH) and Raman activated cell sorting (RACS) system, which can be used to characterise cell function and link phenotypes to genotypes of single cells. The single cell Raman technology is a powerful tool for environmental microbiology, microbiome, cancer diagnosis, disease diagnosis and cell sorting.