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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Dr Simon Moore


Lecturer in Synthetic Biology

Room Number: Room 4.34, Fogg Building


Dr Simon Moore completed his PhD at the University of Kent in 2012. Significantly, he elucidated the anaerobic biosynthetic pathways for vitamin B12 and coenzyme F430 - two vital life-supporting molecules from the tetrapyrrole family, the so-called “pigments of life”. Simon then joined the synthetic biology centre at Imperial College London in 2014, where he expanded his interest into cell-free gene expression systems. Here he realised the potential of cell-free systems for accelerating research in synthetic biology, using cell-free systems for prototyping of gene expression and biosynthetic systems. Simon established his research group at the University of Kent in 2018, before transferring to Queen Mary University of London in 2023.

Postgraduate Teaching

BIO265 and BMD223 – Metabolic pathways

BMD323 – Infectious Diseases

BIO600/BMD600 – Research projects


Research Interests:

Simon collaborates with industry groups and specialises in cell-free synthetic biology within the School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences. We have two core areas of interest:


  1. Cell-free synthetic biology

We are interested in the development of cell-free gene expression systems in less traditional (i.e., non-model) microbes to exploit their unique genetics and biochemistry for useful purposes – i.e., antibiotics and medicinal chemicals. Cell-free gene expression systems require a cell extract, DNA (or mRNA) and metabolites, to initiate transcription and translation. The advantage of this approach is it is fast, microscale and quantitative (i.e., RNA, protein, metabolites), and the experiments can be automated. Cell-free systems are also non-living and suitable for long term storage, where experiments can be performed in a single day using a “plug-and-play” approach. Currently, we are developing cell-free systems to address important challenges such as antimicrobial resistance, as well as searching for new antimicrobials and medicinal compounds.


  1. Natural product biosynthesis and discovery

Natural products are typically encoded by so-called biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs), which are widely found in microbes and plants. We are interested in bacterial BGCs that encode either variants of known natural products, or as a clue to finding new chemicals. Current challenges include activating BGCs in the laboratory to make natural products. Here we are applying both traditional bacterial fermentation and less traditional cell-free approaches to study this problem. We are specifically studying biosynthetic pathways encoding ribosomal peptides and modified indole natural products.



26. Kameshwari Chengan, Charlotte Hind, Lakshmeesha Nagappa, Matthew E Wand, Tanith Hanson, Ruben Martin Escolano, Anastasios Tsaousis, Jose A Bengoechea, J Mark Sutton, Christopher M Smales, Simon J Moore. A cell-free strategy for profiling intracellular antibiotic sensitivity and resistance (2023) BioRxiv

25. Simon J Moore, Hung-En Lai, Jian Li and  Paul S Freemont. Streptomycescell-free systems for natural product discovery and engineering (2023) Natural Products Reports 40 (2), 228-236

24. Lakshmeesha K Nagappa, Wakana Sato, Farzana Alam, Kameshwari Chengan, Christopher M Smales, T Der Haar Von, Karen M Polizzi, Katarzyna P Adamala, Simon J Moore. A ubiquitous amino acid source for prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell-free transcription-translation systems (2022) Frontiers in Biotechnology and Bioengineering 10:992708

23. Agata Kennedy, Guy Griffin, Paul S Freemont, Karen M Polizzi, Simon J Moore. A curcumin direct protein (DiPro) biosensor for cell-free prototyping (2022) Engineering Biology, 6(2):62-68

22. Rebekka Biedendieck, Tobias Knuuti, Simon J Moore and Dieter Jahn. The “beauty in the beast”—the multiple uses of Priestia megaterium in biotechnology (2021) Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology105:5719–5737

21. Jian Li, Yong-Chan Kwon, Yuan Lu, Simon J Moore. Editorial: Cell-Free Synthetic Biology (2021) Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 9:799122

20. Hung-En Lai, Alan M. C. Obled, Soo Mei Chee, Rhodri M. Morgan, Rosemary Lynch, Sunil V. Sharma, Simon J. Moore, Karen M. Polizzi, Rebecca J. M. Goss*, Paul S. Freemont. A GenoChemetic strategy for derivatization of the violacein natural product scaffold (2021)ACS Chemical Biology 16(11):2116.

19. Agata Kennedy, Guy Griffin, Paul S Freemont, Karen M Polizzi, Simon J Moore. A curcumin direct protein (DiPro) biosensor for cell-free prototyping (2022) bioRxiv 2021.09.22.461347

18. Ming Toh, Kameshwari Chengan, Tanith Hanson, Paul S Freemont, Simon J Moore. A high-yield Streptomycestranscription-translation toolkit for synthetic biology and natural product applications (2021) Journal of Visualised Experiments 10.3791/63012

17. Simon J Moore. Enzyme alchemy: cell-free synthetic biochemistry for natural products (2019) Emerging Topics in Biosciences3: 529-535

16. Simon J Moore*, Hung-En Lai, Soo-Mei Chee, Ming Toh, Seth Coode, Kameshwari Chengan, Patrick Capel, Christophe Corre, Emmanuel Lc de Los Santos, Paul S Freemont*. A Streptomycescell-free Toolkit for Synthetic Biology (2021) ACS Synthetic Biology 10: 402-411

15. Simon J Moore, Tommaso Tosi, David Bell, Yonek B Hleba, Karen M Polizzi, Paul S Freemont. High-yield ‘one-pot’ biosynthesis of raspberry ketone, a high-value fine chemical (2021) Synthetic biology (Oxford Press) 6:ysab021

14. Simon J Moore, Yonek B Hleba, Sarah Bischoff, David Bell, Karen M Polizzi, Paul S Freemont. Refactoring of a Synthetic Raspberry Ketone Pathway with EcoFlex (2021) Microbial Cell Factories20: 1-11

13. Hung-En Lai, Caoimhe Canavan, Loren Cameron, Simon Moore, Monika Danchenko, Todd Kuiken, Zuzana Sekeyová, Paul S Freemont. Synthetic biology and the United Nations (2019) Trends in Biotechnology37: 1146-1151

12. Simon J Moore, James T MacDonald, Sarah Wienecke, Alka Ishwarbhai, Argyro Tsipa, Rochelle Aw, Nicolas Kylilis, David J Bell, David W McClymont, Kirsten Jensen, Karen M Polizzi, Rebekka Biedendieck, Paul S Freemont. Rapid acquisition and model-based analysis of cell-free transcription-translation reactions from non-model bacteria (2018) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)115: E4340-E4349

11. Simon J Moore, James T MacDonald and Paul S Freemont. Cell-free synthetic biology for in vitroprototype engineering (2017) Biochemical Society Transactions 45: 785-791.

10. Simon J Moore, Sven T Sowa, Christopher Schuchardt, Evelyne Deery, Andrew D Lawrence, José Vazquez Ramos, Susan Billig, Claudia Birkemeyer, Peter T Chivers, Mark J Howard, Stephen EJ Rigby, Gunhild Layer, Martin J Warren. Elucidation of the biosynthesis of the methane catalyst coenzyme F430(2017) Nature 543: 78-82

9. Simon J Moore, Hung‐En Lai, Hannah Needham, Karen M Polizzi, Paul S Freemont. Streptomyces venezuelaeTX-TL – a next generation cell-free synthetic biology tool (2017) Journal of Biotechnology DOI: 10.1002/biot.201600678

8. Simon J Moore, Hung-En Lai, Richard JR Kelwick, Soo Mei Chee, David J Bell, Karen M Polizzi, Paul S Freemont. EcoFlex: A multifunctional toolkit for E. colisynthetic biology (2016) ACS Synthetic Biology 5: 1059-1069

7. Margarita B Kopniczky, Simon J Moore, Paul S Freemont. Multilevel regulation and translational switches in synthetic biology (2015) IEEE Transactions 9: 485-496

6. Simon J Moore, Matthias J Mayer, Rebekka Biedendieck, Evelyne Deery, Martin J Warren. Towards a cell factory for vitamin B12production in Bacillus megaterium: Bypassing of the cobalamin riboswitch control elements (2014) New Biotechnology 31: 553-61

5. Simon J Moore, Andrew D Lawrence, Rebekka Biedendieck, Evelyne Deery, Stefanie Frank, Mark J Howard, Stephen EJ Rigby, Martin J Warren. Elucidation of the anaerobic pathway for the corrin component of cobalamin (vitamin B12) (2013) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)110: 14906-14911

4. Simon J Moore, Rebekka Biedendieck, Andrew D Lawrence, Evelyne Deery, Mark J Howard, Stephen EJ Rigby, Martin J Warren. Characterization of the enzyme CbiH60involved in anaerobic ring contraction of the cobalamin (vitamin B12) biosynthetic pathway (2013) Journal of Biological Chemistry 288: 297-305

3. Simon J Moore and Martin J Warren. The anaerobic biosynthesis of vitamin B12(2012) Biochemical Society Transactions 40: 581-586

Book Chapters

2. Hung-En Lai, Simon Moore, Karen Polizzi, Paul Freemont. EcoFlex: A Multifunctional MoClo Kit for E. coliSynthetic Biology (2018) Springer Protocols: Synthetic Biology p429-444

1.Evelyne Deery, Stefanie Frank, Andrew Lawrence, Simon Moore, Susanne Schroeder, Martin J Warren. Synthetic biology and a new era in metabolic engineering: From complex biochemical pathways to compartmentalized metabolic processes – a vitamin connection (2014) Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine, Wiley




Miss Kameshwari Chengan (PhD student University of Kent)

Miss Agata Kennedy (PhD student University of Kent)

Mr Harry Meades (co-supervision MSc student University of Kent)

Miss Charlotte Woolley (QMUL PhD student)

Miss Alexander Butulan (LiDO iCASE PhD student)

Dr Lewis Tanner (Leverhulme Trust PDRA)

Current PhD Opportunity

A cell-free synthetic biology approach to counter antimicrobial resistance

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