" /> Bio Solutions Showcase — Edinburgh Innovations


The University of Edinburgh Bio-Solutions Showcase will feature a series of short presentations to highlight the University’s world-class expertise within biotechnology. Our leading academics will talk through a range of technological applications based on biological systems and will aim to demonstrate how bio-solutions can create useful products and improve processes across a range of sectors.

The first part of the afternoon will be dedicated to three plenary sessions presented by some of the University’s leading academics in the fields of sustainability, biofilms and biomathematics. The second part of the afternoon will consist of breakout sessions and attendees will have the option to select the talks they want to attend.

Our annual Industry Dinner will follow the Bio-Solutions showcase to thank our industry partners for their continued support and to celebrate the past year of science and engineering success at the University. The Industry Dinner will be held at the National Museum of Scotland.

View the event schedule
  • 12:30 – 13:10 | Registration and lunch
  • 13:10 – 13:20 | Welcome – Gordon Donald, COO of Edinburgh Innovations (EI)
  • 13:20 – 13:30 | Introduction – Dr Lorraine Kerr, Commercial Relations Manager, EI
  • 13:30 – 15:05 | Keynote presentations
  • 15:05 – 17:15 | Breakout sessions
  • 17:15 – 17:30 | Closing remarks – Prof Andy Mount, Dean of Research, College of Science and Engineering


Dr Louise Horsfall
Dr Louise Horsfall is a Senior Lecturer in Biotechnology and synthetic biologist at the University of Edinburgh and also elected co-chair of the Bioengineering and Bioprocessing section of the European Federation of Biotechnology. She began her career as a chemist at the University of Oxford before moving to Liège, Belgium, to study biochemistry; gaining her PhD in 2007. This was followed by postdoctoral research back in the UK at the Universities of Leeds and Glasgow.

Louise believes that biotechnology has the potential to transform manufacturing by using waste as a feedstock, rather than it being an end product. Current research projects include the bioremediation of waste, water and land; employing techniques and tools provided by synthetic biology to increase the value of metals recovered. Collaborative research with industry is focused on improving both the expression and performance of enzymes to increase the energy efficiency and the sustainability of bioprocesses.

Professor Cait MacPhee
Cait MacPhee is a Professor of Biological Physics in the Institute of Condensed Matter and Complex Systems in the School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Edinburgh, and part of the Physics of Living Matter and Soft Matter Physics groups. Additional interests include Astrobiology and the origins of life, the challenges of interdisciplinarity (Cait MacPhee was originally trained in the biosciences but moved across to physics), and overcoming the challenges and barriers to women in STEM fields. Cait Macphee is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Society of Biology. In 2016 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List.
Dr Diego Oyarzún
Dr Diego Oyarzún leads the Biomolecular Control Group at the University of Edinburgh. He was a Research Fellow in Biomathematics at Imperial College London (2013-2018) and currently holds a joint appointment between the School of Informatics and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. His team develops computational methods for the design of biomolecular systems in biotechnology and healthcare. Oyarzún has authored over 50 scientific publications and is part of multidisciplinary collaborations in the UK, Europe and USA. He holds advisory roles at the World Economic Forum and is an associate editor for journals in biotechnology and synthetic biology.


Session 1

15:00 – 15:30

Dr Joanna Sadler

Waste to value: plastic as a substrate for the circular bioeconomy

An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean each year, sequestering materials from finite resources whilst posing a major environmental crisis. However, the cheap, abundant and C-rich nature of this material makes it a promising substrate for microbial growth and biotechnology, opening up the possibility of deriving value added products from plastic waste. This talk will provide a perspective on this young field of research, highlighting notable examples and future directions.

Dr Karl Burgess

Applications of metabolomics to industrial biotechnology

Metabolomics is the latest of the ‘omics disciplines and one that seeks to catalogue and quantify the small molecules in a biological sample. In industrial biotechnology, it has found uses in profiling anaerobic digestion to optimise fermentation conditions, catalogue valuable byproducts and assist in strain optimisation, but metabolomics technologies have applications throughout bio-based industry and beyond. In this talk, Dr Karl Burgess will showcase the applications of metabolomics and outline the capabilities available.

Dr Adam A. Stokes

Bioinspired Engineering in the Soft Systems Group

The Soft Systems Group of the University of Edinburgh, led by Dr Adam Stokes, focuses on a number of research areas (sensors, robotics, microfluidics, micro/nano fabrication, wearable technology, diagnostics, etc.) and is developing a new field of multidisciplinary research-bioinspired soft systems engineering. This talk will focus on the challenges and opportunities in analysing, sensing, and controlling complex systems, and on developing new manufacturing tools and processes for building machines with improved capabilities, dynamics, and efficiency.

Session 2

15:45 – 16:15

Professor Lynne Regan

Designer biomaterials for your every need

Biological macromolecules have many important and useful properties. They self-assemble: all the information necessary for them to adopt their 3D form is specified in their sequence; they exhibit exquisite specificity: molecules that differ only by the presence of a methylene (CH2 group) can be distinguished; their production is sustainable and they are biodegradable.

During the talk, Prof Lynne Regan will present examples of re-designing and manipulating biological macromolecules, with a focus on proteins, to create new materials including surface coatings and new 3-D materials with user-specified viscoelastic (and other) properties.

Professor Dominic Campopiano

Genes make Enzymes make Chemicals

There is an urgent demand to produce chemicals (fuels, plastics and medicines) in a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. To enable this we turn to enzymes; Nature’s biocatalysts that carry out efficient, multi-step chemical synthesis. Biocatalysts produce complex natural products that we have used as medicines for hundreds of years. Now we can combine synthetic biology, high throughput screening and protein engineering to design bio-inspired paths to a range of chemicals. This talk will introduce the biocatalyst revolution and highlight its potential for industrial applications.

Dr Simone Dimartino

Applications of 3D printing in the bio-manufacturing industry

This talk will present applications of 3D printing to enable solutions for upstream and downstream bioprocessing, examples of current industry partnerships and possible implementation of 3D printing in their manufacturing sites and opportunities and challenges of 3D printing into the bio-manufacturing industry.

Session 3

16:30 – 17:00

Dr Ben Goddard

Predictive modelling and control of complex fluids

Complex fluids normally consist of two phases, such as solid particles suspended in a liquid (e.g. blood, ink), gas bubbles in a liquid (e.g. sponges, beer), or liquid-liquid emulsions (e.g. milk, vinaigrette).  Dr Ben Goddard is interested in modelling the dynamics of such fluids and looking at how to control these flows in an optimal way. This talk will present a non-technical overview of his work, illustrated by industrially- and biologically-relevant examples.

Dr Anjali Jayakumar

Biochar engineering

Biochar is charcoal produced from plant matter and stored in the soil as a means of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It can be produced in many different ways and it finds many different applications. Engineering biochar properties to suit specific applications by selecting the appropriate combination of biomass feedstock and processing parameters is therefore critical. In this talk, Dr Ondrej Masek will present some of the issues faced in the engineering of biochar products.

Professor Susan Rosser

Can Synthetic Biology change the way we make things?

Biology has the potential to transform manufacturing processes and make them more environmentally friendly and sustainable. Synthetic Biology is an interdisciplinary branch of biology and engineering that involves redesigning organisms for useful purposes by engineering them to have new abilities. In this session, Professor Susan Rosser will discuss the development of new genetic tools to make engineering cells easier. She will give examples of how we use synthetic biology approaches to engineer cells for the manufacture of high-value small molecules and biologic drugs of interest to a range of industries.