Development and validation of synthetically engineered microbial consortia

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Microbial consortia constitute a promising solution to expand the complexity of the synthetic gene circuits that can be engineered in living cells. However, being able to construct robust, modular communities is a challenging task. In addition, due to the imbalances in the growth rates between different members of the consortium, some populations in the consortium can outgrow the others, leading to undesired phenomena, such as extinction, undermining the correct operation of the system.
In this work we address both the problem of realizing reliable microbial consortia and the challenge of regulating the relative numbers between subpopulations in the community to their ensure stable, and long term coexistence. Specifically, we realize and validate biomolecular feedback controllers distributed across populations within a microbial consortium to achieve modular and robust regulation of a cell’s phenotype. These results are complemented by the development of control architectures to shape the composition of a microbial
The realisation of consortia with robust and consistent phenotype where it is possible to decide an maintain a specified composition would enable engineering of complex functionalities in living cells. Potential applications include personalized cell therapies and on demand production of chemicals, drugs and bio-fuels for pharmaceutical or commercial use.
Date of Award24 Jan 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bristol
SupervisorMario Di Bernardo (Supervisor), Nigel J Savery (Supervisor) & Lucia Marucci (Supervisor)

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