Christophe DANELON

Christophe DANELON

Chaire Professeur Junior

Actual position and research subject

Synthetic Cell Lab

We are fascinated by life as a molecular phenomenon. Our goal is to build a living cell from the ground up, in other words, to synthesize life.

We are driven by fundamental questions, such as: What are the design principles of life? Did life emerge as a result of evolution? Can we re-create life in the laboratory using evolutionary processes? In addition, we want to apply emerging synthetic cell technologies for solving important societal challenges.

The architecture of our synthetic cell consists of a lipid vesicle compartment (called liposome), a minimal DNA genome and a decoding machinery (called PURE system) to synthesize proteins. We build different cellular modules: DNA replication, phospholipid synthesis for membrane growth, and liposome division. A key feature of our work is the development of new technologies for continuous evolution of synthetic cells.

Education and Diploma


  • Synthetic biology, Biophysics, iGEM


  • Visit here our group webpage at the TU Delft

List of selected publications

  • Abil, Z., Restrepo Sierra, A. M. & Danelon, C. Clonal amplification-enhanced gene expression for cell-free directed evolution. Preprint on bioRxiv, Nov. 2022.
  • Kattan, J., Doerr, A., Dogterom, M. & Danelon, C. Shaping liposomes by cell-free expressed bacterial microtubules. ACS Syn. Biol. 10:2447, Oct. 2021.
  • Doerr, A., Foschepoth, D., Forster, A. C. & Danelon, C. In vitro synthesis of 32 translation‑factor proteins from a single template reveals impaired ribosomal processivity. Scientific Reports 11:1898, Jan. 2021.
  • Abil, Z. & Danelon, C. Roadmap to building a cell: an evolutionary approach. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 8:927, Aug. 2020.
  • Blanken, D., Foschepoth, D., Calaça Serrão, A. & Danelon, C. Genetically controlled membrane synthesis in liposomes. Nature Communications 11(1):4317, Aug. 2020.
  • Godino, E., Noguera López, J., Zarguit, I., Doerr, A., Jimenez, M., Rivas, G. & Danelon, C. Cell-free biogenesis of bacterial division proto-rings that can constrict liposomes. Communications Biology. 3:539, Sep. 2020.
  • Godino, E, Noguera López, J., Foschepoth, D., Cleij, C., Doerr, A., Castellà, C. F. & Danelon, C. De novo synthesized Min proteins drive oscillatory liposome deformation and regulate FtsA-FtsZ cytoskeletal patterns. Nature Communications 10(1):4969, Oct. 2019.
  • Van Nies, P., Westerlaken, I., Blanken, D., Salas, M., Mencía, M. & Danelon, C. Self-replication of DNA by its encoded proteins in liposome-based synthetic cells. Nature Communications 9:1583, Apr. 2018.