Synthetic biology has enormous potential to enable sustainable biomanufacturing, novel therapeutics and diagnostics, and greater insights into fundamental aspects of biology. However, this potential is limited by the complexity of living systems and our incomplete knowledge of them. I will present recent research that highlights strategies we are employing to engineer complex biological systems more effectively and uncover biology’s ‘unknown unknowns’. As illustrative examples, I will present recent work on the use of Adaptive Laboratory Evolution for altered carbon source utilization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the creation and use of biosensors to screen for metabolite production phenotypes, and work towards the de-novo engineering of simplified minimal yeast genomes.



Dr Tom Williams completed his PhD in synthetic biology at The University of Queensland under the supervision of A/Prof Claudia Vickers, Prof Lars Nielsen, and Dr Jens Kromer in 2015. Since 2015, Tom has been a postdoctoral researcher under the mentorship of Professors Sakkie Pretorius and Ian Paulsen at Macquarie University. Tom has worked on the ‘Yeast 2.0’ synthetic yeast genome project, engineering one-carbon metabolism in yeast through a CSIRO FSP Fellowship, engineering minimal genomes, and on a diverse array of projects focused on directed evolution and biosensor engineering. Most recently, Tom has Co-Founded a Macquarie University spin-out company called Number 8 Bio, which is using synthetic biology to eliminate methane emissions from cattle and sheep.

About AIBN Seminar Series

The AIBN Seminar series showcases a range of seminars across different topics and disciplines