Independent Research Group of Tom Robinson

Independent Research Group of Tom Robinson

Microfluidic Synthetic Biology: Production and Handling of Multi-compartment Artificial Cell Systems

Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam

The Robinson lab specializes in the design and implementation of microfluidic tools for bottom-up synthetic biology. Microfluidic systems are uniquely setup to provide precise control over soft matter objects such as droplets, lipid vesicles and biological cells. Micro-structured features can isolate individuals or populations for high-throughput analysis over time (see Figure). Our labs are fully equipped to design, fabricate, and operate these miniaturised systems, as well as boasting high-speed cameras and confocal 3-D microscopes for their characterisation and analysis. 

Compartmentalisation is essential feature of life and as part of our research use giant unilamellar vesicles, or GUVs, as compartments to encapsulate various biomolecules enablingde novomimicry of biological processes. Through bottom-up assembly of these cell-like systems, we hope to gain valuable insights into the essential components of life. Our recent goals are to use microfluidic platforms to produce artificial cells with biomimetic membranes as well as exhibiting multiple sub-compartments to fully reflect the architecture of complex eukaryotic cells. We currently focus on the cellular phenomena of self-organisation and confinement of enzymatic reactions.

This international team is based just outside of Berlin in the history city of Potsdam surrounded by beautiful nature. Other projects in the group are funded by the IMPRS on Multiscale Bio-Systems graduate program and include single-cell analysis of cancer dormancy and magnetotactic bacteria, reconstitution of biosynthesis pathways, and bacteriophage-membrane interactions - all aided by novel microfluidic platforms.

An international team of researchers with backgrounds in biotechnology, physics, chemistry and molecular biology using microfluidics for bottom-up design of synthetic systems more
Mimicking eukaryotic compartments with synthetic systems aided by microfluidic tools more

Contributions to the Work Package

Work Package L3 more
Go to Editor View