University of Queensland
Area of Study
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
Host University Units2
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units6
Hours & Credits
Rational engineering, i.e. system based analysis and design, of living systems. Assumed background: (i) understanding of biochemistry & microbiology equivalent to CHEE1001, (ii) understanding of calculus & algebra equivalent to MATH2000, (iii) understanding of bioprocesses equivalent to CHEE4020, (iv) basic computer skills, preferably with Matlab.
Living organisms are increasingly used in the production of bulk and fine chemicals. The advantages are obvious:
Living organisms can carry out highly specific and complex chemical reactions schemes in water at low temperature and pressure.
Living organisms are self-replicating “catalytic pellets” that can be designed at microscale and scaled to very large volumes using relative standard process technology.
However, living organisms were not designed specifically for producing the desired products and – in most cases – substantial reengineering is required to produce products at competitive costs.
Previously improvements were achieved through random mutagenesis and selection of better strains. Using this approach, improvements were restricted to what was achievable within the confinement of a single organism and with a relatively limited number of modifications. Advances in molecular biology and genomics, however, have greatly extended the improvements possible via combination of desirable traits from several organisms. With a practically unlimited number of ways to modify an organism, the main challenge is to decide were to invest the effort. Metabolic engineering introduces a range of tools aimed at addressing this problem.
Though the aim might be very applied, the problem is very fundamental in nature. In order to predict, how a given genetic modification might improve an organism, we need to know how the organism functions, i.e., we need understand the translation between genome and phenotype, which is one of the hotly pursued areas in biology. This course will take us to the boundary of current understanding and provide some pointers to what is being done, in terms of understanding the genome-phenome link.
After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
1 appreciate the increasing role of bio-based processes in the production of organochemicals
2 better understand cellular metabolism and its regulation
3 apply standard metabolic engineering tools to analyse metabolic networks.
4 better understand characterisation of microbes within a metabolic engineering program
2 Lecture hours, 2 Tutorial hours
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.
Some courses may require additional fees.