Professor Antonis Papachristodoulou: Synthetic Biology CDT Programme Director

Dr Antonis Papachristodoulou

Antonis holds an MA/MEng degree in Electrical and Information Sciences from the University of Cambridge, U.K. and a PhD in Control and Dynamical Systems at the California Institute of Technology, with a PhD Minor in Aeronautics. He joined the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford in January 2006, where he is now a University Lecturer in Engineering Science and a Tutorial Fellow at Worcester College. His research interests are in networked systems, fluid mechanics and Systems and Synthetic Biology.

email | webpage

Professor Robert Carlisle: Associate Director, University of Oxford

Professor Robert Carlisle


Bob is an Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering and head of the Drug and Vaccine Delivery group, within the IBME. He completed a BSc in Biochemistry, an MSc in Toxicology and a PhD in Gene Delivery. He then worked within the Dept of Clinical Pharmacology and the Dept of Oncology at the University of Oxford, before taking his post with the Engineering Science Dept. His work is concerned with how to more effectively deliver therapeutics, with particular emphasis of biologics. He is a PI on an EPSRC programme grant and co-founder of OxSonics Ltd.

email | webpage

Professor Harrison Steel: Associate Director, University of Oxford


Harrison’s first degrees were in Mechanical Engineering and Science at the University of Sydney, after which he completed a D.Phil in Engineering at the University of Oxford as a Monash Scholar. He joined the University of Oxford Department of Engineering Science in 2020 as an Associate Professor in Control Engineering and is also a Tutorial Fellow at Harris Manchester College. Harrison’s research is at the interface of control engineering, synthetic biology, and robotics – he is interested in creating systems that integrate biological and computational feedback control to address scientific questions as well as industrial and environmental applications.

email | webpage

Professor Claire Grierson: Associate Director, University of Bristol

Professor Claire Grierson

Claire’s first degree in Microbiology and Microbial Technology from the University of Warwick, UK, included a one year industrial research project at Corporate Bioscience Laboratories, ICI. Her PhD was with Professor Mike Bevan at the University of Cambridge and the John Innes Centre. She was a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow at IACR-Long Ashton 1996-2000 and a lecturer at the University of Bristol in 2000, Reader in 2004 and Professor in 2009. Claire enjoys collaborating with researchers in other disciplines, and leads Life Science at the Bristol Centre for Complexity Sciences. Her research interests include the self-organisation of biological systems, especially molecules and cells that form predictable patterns, and the functional importance of biological structures at different scales.

email | webpage

Professor Orkun Soyer: Associate Director, University of Warwick

Professor Orkun Soyer


Orkun S Soyer is a Professor of Evolutionary Systems and Synthetic Biology at the School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick. He studied chemistry at the Bogazici University, Istanbul and received a PhD from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for his work on modeling protein evolution. His postdoctoral work at ETH, Zurich focused on the evolution and dynamics of signaling networks. Soyer’s current research aims to decipher the evolutionary and ecological principles that can explain the structure and dynamics of biological systems. A connected aim is to use the resulting insights toward manipulating existing biological systems or designing novel ones. His group utilizes and develops both computational and experimental approaches towards these general goals. A significant experimental effort in the group is currently focused on engineering synthetic microbial communities. The diverse research projects at the Soyer lab are currently funded by the UK Research Councils (BBSRC and EPSRC), Microsoft Research, and the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

email | webpage

Professor Andrew Turberfield: Management Committee Member, University of Oxford

Professor Andrew Tuberfield

Andrew Turberfield studies biomolecular self-assembly and in particular nanofabrication using synthetic molecules of DNA. His DNA nanostructures group concentrates on the development of synthetic molecular machinery, including molecular motors and molecular production lines for chemical synthesis, the development of intracellular sensors and delivery devices, and molecular computation. His earlier research interests included photonic materials and low-temperature solid state physics. Andrew is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford.

email | webpage

Professor Judith Armitage: Management Committee Member, University of Oxford

Professor Judith Armitage

Judy’s work investigates the dynamics of bacterial sensory transduction and the control of bacterial motility.

email | webpage

Professor Dek Woolfson: Management Committee Member, University of Bristol

Professor Dek Woolfson

Dek Woolfson took his first degree in Chemistry at the University of Oxford. He then did a PhD at the University of Cambridge followed by post-doctoral research at University College London and the University of California, Berkeley. After 10 years as Lecturer through to Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Sussex, he moved to the University of Bristol in 2005 to take up a joint chair in Chemistry and Biochemistry. His research has always been at the interface between chemistry and biology, applying chemical methods and principles to understand biological phenomena. Specifically, his group is interested in the challenge of rational protein design, how this can be applied in synthetic biology and biotechnology, and with a particular emphasis on making biomaterials for applications in cell biology and medicine.

email | webpage

Professor Declan Bates: Management Committee Member, University of Warwick

Professor Declan Bates

Declan Bates holds a Chair in Bioengineering in the School of Engineering at
the University of Warwick. His research is focussed on the modelling, analysis, control and design of complex biological systems. In 2006, he was awarded an EPSRC Discipline Hopping Research Fellowship to pursue research on the Control Engineering/Life Sciences Interface. He is a member of one of 5 project teams formed during a week-long ‘sandpit’ on Synthetic Biology, organised by EPSRC and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2009, which were awarded over $9M in research funding. In 2013 his team were awarded further joint funding
from EPSRC/NSF to continue their research on synthetic integrons. In 2011, he co-authored (with Carlo Cosentino) the first textbook specifically devoted to control engineering approaches to Systems Biology.

email | webpage

Sam Taylor: Head of Administration and Finance

Samantha Miles, Centre Administrator

Sam is the Senior Administrator at the DTC, responsible for the administrative management of the Centre, including the programmes, finances and building facilities. She leads the administration team and is Disability and Harassment Advisor for the Centre. Sam worked for the University for a number of years prior to joining the DTC, primarily in the area of Graduate Admissions.

Dr Eoin Malins: IT Manager

Dr Eoin Malins, IT Manager

Eoin comes from a research background with an interest in algorithm optimisation for hardware implementations. Having worked at the New York Stock Exchange, APT (Audio Processing Technology), Queen’s University and the University of Ulster, Eoin is now responsible for the smooth running of the staff and student computer systems at the DTC.

Sophie Nixey, Synthetic Biology CDT Programme Administrator

Sophie Tarry


Sophie joined the team in August 2014 and is responsible for the day to day administration of the Synthetic Biology programme. Prior to starting at the CDT Sophie worked at The Said Business School for 4 years as a programme Administrator for their Executive Education programmes. 

Nikki Glover, (University of Warwick)

Nikki Glover


Nikki joined the SynBioCDT administration team in January 2015 and is also responsible for all administrative matters relating to Postgraduate Research Students in the School of Life Sciences.

Diana Wilkins, (University of Bristol)

Diana Wilkins


Diana was responsible for the administration of the Synthetic Biology CDT in 2014-2018, as well as being Executive Assistant to the EPSRC/BBSRC Synthetic Biology centre BrisSynBio and Professor Dek Woolfson. Prior to this Diana has worked in the School of Chemistry, the School of Experimental Psychology and in Disability Services. Prior to joining the University Diana worked in the private industrial and charity sectors.