Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Synthetic biology

Overall Course Objectives

The course introduces the basic terminology and concepts of synthetic biology and the mindset on which it depends. The course, further, equips the students with the necessary analytical tools to evaluate and design the complex molecular biological experiments needed for implementing bioengineering solutions to industry-relevant problems

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the difference between parts, devices and circuits in synthetic biology
  • Explain and apply standardized approaches for DNA assembly (molecular cloning)
  • Design biological parts, devices and basic circuits
  • Create and analyze mathematical models of simple regulatory circuits and genetic switches
  • Evaluate the feasibility of existing experimental designs for the implementation of SynBio solutions
  • Design detailed molecular biological experiments, incl. predict the possible outcomes of the individual steps and the required experimental control reactions
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of different parts and chassis (organisms) in connection with a given synthetic biological design
  • Describe how instrumentation and automation of the laboratory (use of robotics) can enable synthetic biology
  • Designing experiments that lead to heterogeneous clones/DNA libraries
  • Design feasible screening strategies for identifying clones with a desirable functionality within a library
  • Design cell factories for the production of small molecules and proteins/enzymes
  • Discuss the ethical implications of synthetic biology, and Perform risks assessment of projects.

Course Content

The course introduces Synthetic Biology and the underlying concepts and notions.

The course focuses on the design of molecular biological experiments and screening strategies (= the participant will have to actively design/device experiments on a weekly basis). After the course, the participants will be able to design all steps necessary to implement complex genetic engineering experiments, e.g. cloning strategies, necessary experimental controls, expected outcomes of the different steps, and efficient screening assays for identifying cells with the desired functionalities.

The central concepts and mindset within Synthetic Biology is introduced through textbook chapters, original literature, lectures, and case discussions. Detailed design of complex molecular biological experiments is trained via weekly theoretical assignments and plenum discussions of the different team’s solutions. The ethical and commercial aspects of Synthetic Biology are treated during the case discussions and design exercises.

Recommended prerequisites

27026/27051/27022, Ideally you have hands-on experience from experimental molecular biological work (BSc project or larger special course) so you can participate in the discussions and relate to the theoretical exercises.

Teaching Method

The lecture series introduces the basic concepts of Synthetic Biology and molecular biological tools for genetic engineering of production organisms. In the weekly theoretical exercises, we develop competences in the design, building, testing, and learning in SynBio experiments and how to evaluate designs. In parallel, the students work in smaller teams to solve an exam project, giving the opportunity to apply the course topics in relation to the exam project.



The 27460 and 27410 courses collectively provide a holistic introduction to the Design-Build-Test-Learn cycle used in cell factory engineering. 27410 covers the Test-Learn-Design part with a focus on data-integration, and modelling of metabolism, while 27460 covers the Design-Build-Test elements with a focus on the molecular biological aspects.

Limited number of seats

Minimum: 10.

Please be aware that this course will only be held if the required minimum number of participants is met. You will be informed 8 days before the start of the course, whether the course will be held.

See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 27460
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 35
Semester end Week 48
Days Wed 8-12

7.500,00 DKK

Please note that this course has participants limitation. Read more