Deciphering evolutionary principles of biological systems and utilising these for understanding and engineering.

Biology is a result of evolution. This fact is at the core of research ideas pursued at OSS lab. Headed by Orkun S. Soyer, the lab aims to understand evolutionary and ecological principles that can explain the structure and dynamics of biological systems and utilise these principles in systems and synthetic biology.

Within this broad remit, our recent focus has been on understanding cellular metabolism through a combination of computational modelling and experimental studies. This work is now increasingly extending into analyzing the interactions of metabolic systems across species, focussing on host-parasite interactions and microbial communities. In the latter domain, we are developing model ecosystems consisting of a few interacting species and also analyse the structure-function relation in complex communities found in industrial anaerobic digestion plants (involving weekly samples analysed and made available on a dedicated project website). The development of model ecosystems, or "synthetic microbial communities" is aimed towards developing novel biotechnological, agricultural, and biomedical applications, and drawing better insights into microbial ecology. As part of this research, we work with a range of microorganisms from anaerobes to phototrophs and aim to develop new growth media and protocols to study them.

Our research draws on a range of collaborations with experts from biology, engineering, computer science, physics, and mathematics. Within the University of Warwick, we are part of the School of Life Sciences (SLS), Warwick Centre for Integrative Synthetic Biology (WISB), and the EPSRC/BBSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Synthetic Biology (SynBioCDT).