GSEJ Members Play Critical Roles in New Engineering Biology Mission Hub

Two founding members of GSEJ, Prof Mark Smales and Prof Joy Zhang will play essential roles in a major BBSRC funded project, Engineering Biology Mission Hub for Environmental Processing and Recovery of Metals (ELEMENTAL) .

The world in 2040 is expected to need 4 times as many critical minerals/metals for clean energy technologies as it does today. To achieve this goal it is clear that environmental processing and recovery of minerals and metals will play a critical strategic role not only in sustainable resource management but also in waste reduction, pollution prevention, and the transition towards a more circular and environmentally conscious economy.

This £14 million programme unites specialists from across the UK with the aim to address the growing need for critical minerals and metals in clean energy technologies and promote a circular economy. This project is led by bioscientist Professor Martin Warren at the University of Kent, in collaboration with Quadram Institute, University of East Anglia, University of Manchester, Durham University, Natural History Museum, University College London, University of Surrey and the University of York. 

For the next five years, Prof Mark Smales will lead the research on using synthetic biology to engineer manipulate the expression of metal transporters and determine the impact on CHO cell growth, recombinant protein production and protein drug.

Prof Joy Zhang will work with all partner institutions to lead the project’s Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and public & policy engagements.