Dr Leonardo Rios Solis

Lecturer

Email: 

Telephone: 

+44(0)131 6513561

Location: 

3.11 Mary Bruck

Social Media: 

Engineering Discipline: 

  • Chemical Engineering

Research Institute: 

  • Bioengineering

Research Theme: 

  • Bioengineering
Dr Leonardo Rios Solis
Dr Leonardo Rios Solis

Biography: 

Academic profile

Leonardo Rios earned his  Chemical Engineering MEng and  Biotechnology MSc degree at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Mexican Institute of Petroleum.

This led him to pursue his PhD in the Biochemical Engineering Department at UCL under supervision of Professor Gary J. Lye where he worked in microscale automated tools to design, model and optimise de novo pathways, specifically working with transaminases, transketolases and mono amino oxidases.

Leonardo then won a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship from the University of California Berkeley to perform research study at the Keasling Lab in the Joint BioEnergy Institute in the microbial synthetic biology field.

Leonardo was awarded a lectureship in 2017 at the Engineering School of the University of Edinburgh where he leads his research group at the Institute for Bioengineering.

Research motivation

Our research motivation at the LeoRios lab focuses in promoting further understanding on the interphase of Biochemical Engineering and Synthetic Biology as well as to find novel ways to apply this knowledge to tackle the growing socio-economic inequalities that plague the world. Dr Rios has a firm belief that if scientists gear their research and discoveries toward this end, an immense contribution will be made fighting problems like equal access to food and pharmaceuticals, boosting local economies, high quality education as well as the promotion of a greener and more sustainable environment.

Specific research topics

 

Microbial cell factories

At the LeoRios Lab, we apply synthetic biology tools to engineer microbial cell factories to produce high value products such as biofuels, biomaterials and pharmaceuticals. We are mainly focusing on isoprenoids (e.g. anti-cancer drug Taxol), chiral amino-alcohols and venturing in marine natural products and antibodies.

We have developed efficient metabolic and genome engineering tools which allow to sequentially built and optimise stable synthetic pathways. We combined the tools of proteomics, metabolomics, kinetic modelling, next generation sequencing and microscale automated instrumentation to rapidly detect the bottlenecks and optimise the pathway using engineering principles.

Mammalian cell factories

We are very excited to explore new production ways of biologics using mammalian cells. Therefore, we are venturing in engineering the mammalian cells using novel CRISPR Cas9 technologies to boost the production while increasing cells’ performance and suitability to the bioprocess demands.

Novel bio-equipments and bioprocesses

At the LeoRios lab, we have understood that boosting the production and maximising the potential of our synthetic genes and pathways require specific bio-equipments (e.g. bioreactors, downstream processing) to cater the new qualities of our engineered cells. Specifically, we are focused on developing reliable and easy ways to use continuous flow bioprocesses using novel materials, smart instrumentation and user-friendly software so that they can be applied in underprivileged sectors to produce their own pharmaceuticals and boost their local economies.

We have closely worked with aquaculture companies to apply our Biochemical Engineering skills to the aquaculture world. As a result, we have pioneered the development of starch based biofilters and vertical aquaculture systems.

The technologies developed in the LeoRios Lab have contributed to the creation of startups Marizca LTD, Artes Genomicas S.A de C.V and Logypot S.A de C.V.

Academic Qualifications: 

Research Fellow in Synthetic Biology

University of California Berkeley, Joint Bioenergy Institute, California, USA

Postdoc in Microscale Automated Bioprocesses

University College London, Biochemical Engineering, London, UK

PhD Biochemical Engineering

University College London, Biochemical Engineering, London, UK

Thesis title: "Microscale evaluation of de novo engineered whole cell biocatalysts". Supervisors: Prof. G. J. Lye, Prof. P. A. Dalby and Dr F. Baganz.

MSc Petroleum Biotechnology

National Mexican Institute of Petroleum, Department of Biotechnology, Mexico

Awards and Honors

  • (2016) UC Berkeley Monarch Award for best postdoctoral fellowship ($2500 award)
  • (2010) Award for best poster. IChemE Bioprocessing Meeting, Cambridge, UK, 13-14 April 2010
  • (2009) Award of Institute of Education Scholarship for inspiring Teachers
  • (2008) Award of CONACYT scholarship, PhD at UCL, UK
  • (2008)Award from Mexican Council scholarship for best research projects, PhD at UCL, UK
  • (2005) Award of CONACYT scholarship, Msc, IMP, Mexico
  • (2005)Award of IMP scholarship for academic excellence, Msc, IMP, Mexico
  • (2005) Award for best social service research project, Bsc Chemical Engineering, UNAM, Mexico
  • (2002, 2003 and 2004) Awards for academic excellence top 3 best students, Bsc Chemical Engineering, UNAM, Mexico

Professional Qualifications and Memberships: 

  • Institution of Chemical Engineering (ICheme), UK
  • National Researcher System (SNI level 1), CONACYT, Mexico
  • Biochemical Engineering research group (BESRG), UK
  • New York Academy of Science, USA
  • SynthSys (Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology), UK
  • Mexican Society of Biochemistry (SMB), Mexico
  • Mexican Society of Synthetic Biology, Mexico

Teaching: 

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Biochemical Engineering 2 (CHEE08012)

The objective of this course is to introduce the basic concepts of biomolecule and cell function and how they are applied to bioreactor analysis and design.

Research Interests: 

  • Microbial synthetic biology
  • De novo pathways for production of high value natural products
  • Microbial Metabolic Engineering
  • Pathway modelling
  • Bioreactor design, scale-up, scale down, fermentation and downstream process
  • Automated microscale tools
  • Enzyme production and purification
  • Continuous flow bioreactors
  • Aquaculture

Apart from the topics described above, I am interested in expanding my research towards:

  • Mamalian cells synthetic biology
  • Mamlian cell culture and bioreactor optimization
  • Biologics production and purification
  • Marine synthetic biology
  • Biosensors

Specialities: 

  • Microbial synthetic biology
  • De novo pathways for production of high value natural products
  • Microbial metabolic engineering
  • Pathway modelling
  • Bioreactor design, scale-up, scale down, fermentation and downstream process
  • Automated microscale tools
  • Enzyme production and purification
  • Continuous flow bioreactors
  • Aquaculture

Apart from the topics described above, I am interested in expanding my research towards:

  • Mammalian cells synthetic biology
  • Mammalian cell culture and bioreactor optimization
  • Biologics production and purification
  • Marine synthetic biology
  • Biosensors