Evolutionary principles of biological systems.

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 (i) understand evolutionary and ecological principles that can explain the mechanistic basis of the structure and dynamics of biological systems, and (ii) utilise these principles in systems and synthetic biology, i.e. for understanding and engineering.

Within this broad remit, our current focus is on metabolism at the level of cells and microbial communities. We utilise computational modelling and experimental approaches to study; (i) the metabolic system dynamics arising from enzymatic reaction motifs, (ii) the quantitative basis of metabolic interactions in constructed synthetic microbial communities and complex natural communities, (iii) the role of metabolism in cellular interactions (including host-parasite interactions), (iv) the evolution of metabolism and metabolic interactions, and most recently (v) the role and use of electrical signals in interfacing with metabolism.

Our experimental work focuses on monocultures and constructed communities of different microorganisms, ranging from anaerobes to phototrophs and including both model organisms and environmental isolates. We are also leading two larger scale studies on complex communities found in industrial anaerobic digestion plants, focusing on understanding and engineering these communities (see methanogenic communities project), as well as predicting their temporal stability (see anaerodynamics project).

Our research draws on a range of collaborations with experts from biology, engineering, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Within the University of Warwick, we are a founding member of the recent Warwick BioElectricity (BEE) group. 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).