ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology (CoESB) is a cross-disciplinary, and national research centre, which aims to create the knowledge and strategies necessary for Australia to develop a vibrant bioeconomy building on the nation’s strengths in agriculture. The Centre combines engineering with molecular biology to design and construct novel biological systems that can convert biomass from agriculture or waste streams to biofuel, bioplastics and other high-value chemicals. Research in the CoESB is focused upon Centre’s three capabilities: Systems Bioengineering, Industrial Translation, and Social Dimensions.

The Western Sydney node of the CoESB contributes to the Social Dimensions capability, which embeds expertise and analysis from law, ethics, philosophy, the arts, political science, and the social and behavioural sciences within the science and engineering of synthetic biology. With a focus on ethical issues and values, legal frameworks and cultural shifts, this team of scholars explores some of the central questions arising from the Centre, such as what problem are we trying to solve and is synthetic biology even the right solution? And how does the promise translate into practice, policy and benefits for society?

At the Western Sydney node, these questions are explored in relation to the ecological crisis and the climate crisis, concerning the ethical, social, and cultural dimensions of synthetic biology for biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation.

Researcher Team:

  • Dr Josh Wodak, Chief Investigator – Western Sydney University Node
  • Dr Christopher Lean, Research Fellow – Western Sydney University Node
  • Dr Abhishek Kashyap, Project Officer – Western Sydney University Node

Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)

Period: 2020-2027

Program website: (opens in a new window)

Contact: Dr Josh Wodak (