Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy

Staff Profile

Dr Alice Banks

Research Associate



I studied for my BSc at the University of Bristol, completing a dissertation which focussed on the identification of mushrooms exhibiting antimicrobial activity.

I followed this with an MSc by Research where I extended the work in fungal antimicrobial production by mining fungal genomes for genes characteristic of antimicrobial biosynthesis.

My PhD research focussed on terpenoid biosynthesis in the basidiomycete fungi Coprinopsis strossmayeri and Lepista sordida, for the identification of novel antimicrobial compounds, and the gene clusters underlying biosynthesis.

I am now working for Dr Thomas Howard in the Biological Engineering group at Newcastle University. This EPSRC project will investigate the potential of combining synthetic gene networks with functional materials to develop novel stimuli-responsive devices using cell-free protein synthesis.


  • PhD in Biological Sciences (University of Bristol)
  • MSc by Research in Biological Science (University of Bristol)
  • BSc in Biology (University of Bristol)

Google Scholar



Self-disclosing protective materials using synthetic gene networks (EPSRC)

We are developing novel stimuli-responsive gene networks - inspired by the genetic diversity of biological species - and embedding these systems in functional materials. Genetic circuits afford key benefits for this application: they are lightweight, they can be encoded to react to a range of provocations, and they can output colour changes or other easily perceived properties to indicate that an event has occurred. With Dr Thomas Howard (School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University), Dr Colette Whitfield (School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University), Dr David Fulton (School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University), Dr Jonathan Fieldsend (Computer Science, University of Exeter) and Professor John Love (Biosciences, University of Exeter).