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Engineering Biology in Cambridge


Indra Roux studied Biotechnology at the National University of Quilmes (Argentina). Following her interest in microbial metabolism and synthetic biology, she obtained a PhD at The University of Western Australia (Australia) in 2021, with a subsequent postdoc. During her PhD she developed synthetic biology tools for natural product discovery in filamentous fungi. In 2022 she joined the MRC Toxicology Unit at Cambridge as a postdoctoral researcher in the Patil lab, where she is studying chemical-genetic interactions in the human gut microbiome. During her PhD, she actively participated in the Synthetic Biology Australasia Society, and believes community is key to facilitate interdisciplinary research as engineering biology.


I am fascinated by the vastly under-explored microbial metabolism, and how synthetic biology can help us investigate it and unlock its potential. At MRC Toxicology Unit, I aim to explore the mechanisms and genetic basis behind the interactions between gut microbes and xenobiotic compounds, as well as interspecies metabolic interactions. Xenobiotics present in medications, food or environmental pollutants can interact with bacteria and impact their growth and metabolism. On the other hand, xenobiotic compounds can also be metabolised or accumulated by bacteria. Advancing the molecular mechanisms behind these interactions is critical to predict the effects of xenobiotics in the microbiome of an individual and develop diagnostics and health solutions. To this end, I plan to expand the genetic and synthetic biology toolbox for under-explored gut bacteria, allowing us to interrogate them at a genome scale.



Key publications: 

Woodcraft, C., Chooi*, Y. H., & Roux*, I. (2023). The expanding CRISPR toolbox for natural product discovery and engineering in filamentous fungi. Natural Product Reports. 40, 158−173. 

Roux*, I., & Chooi*, Y.-H. (2022). Cre/lox-mediated chromosomal integration of biosynthetic gene clusters for heterologous expression in Aspergillus nidulans. ACS Synthetic Biology, 11, 1186−1195 

Roux, I., Bowles, S., Kalaitzis, J. A., Vuong, D., Lacey, E., Chooi, Y.-H., & Piggott, A. M. (2021). Characterisation and heterologous biosynthesis of burnettiene A, a new polyene-decalin polyketide from Aspergillus burnettii. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 19, 9506–9513.

Roux, I., Woodcraft, C., Hu, J., Wolters, R., Gilchrist, C. L. M., & Chooi, Y.-H. (2020). CRISPR-Mediated Activation of Biosynthetic Gene Clusters for Bioactive Molecule Discovery in Filamentous Fungi. ACS Synthetic Biology, 9, 1843–1854. 

*Corresponding author

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MRC Toxicology Unit
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