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Research interests

Our research interests span synthetic biology, biosensors, cellular transport, and metabolic control. We are currently exploring a number of applied research areas including; i) the development and application of genetically encoded biosensors, for sensing, control and communication within and between engineered microbial strains, ii) development of consolidated bioprocesses and use of alternative non-energy crop feedstocks for bioproduction, and the iii) use of mobile genetic elements with catabolic payloads for bioremediation of xenobiotics.

The driver of these applied research areas is the development of biological and process engineering approaches to help harness the power of biological systems to i) support sustainable development and the transition towards circular low carbon-based production-consumption-disposal models, and ii) remediate contaminated environments polluted wiht xenobiotics.

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Neil Dixon received a 1st class Hons degree in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Leeds (UK) in 2000 and then undertook in his PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry also at Leeds on “Probing the inhibition of the vacuolar (H⁺)-ATPase: targeting osteoporosis” (2004). After an extended period travel in Latin America he then pursued post-doctoral research in Chemical Biology at the University of Manchester (UK) on the topic re-engineering the molecular recognition properties of regulatory RNAs termed riboswitches, using rational design, high-throughput screening, directed evolution, along with structural and and biophysical characterization (2006-2010).

Neil Dixon previously held a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship and a BBSRC Enterprise fellow based at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology(MIB). His research group is focused on developing engineering tools and technologies to enhance the capacity and introduce new capability into biological hosts for biotech and biomed applications. His group currently comprising of 3 post doctoral scientists, 5 PhD students and 2 Research Techniciasn is supported from BBSRC, EPSRC, Innovate UK, Wellcome Trust, Brazilian and Indonesian Governments.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Areas of expertise

  • Q Science (General)

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Biotechnology
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Manchester Institute of Biotechnology
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute


  • Synthetic Biology
  • Metabolic Engineering
  • Biosensors
  • Sustainable Development
  • Bioprocesss Engineering
  • Engineering Biology
  • Bioremediation


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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