Dr Daniel Martins successfully defended his PhD thesis at his Viva Voce on 25th November 2019, with Dr Chun Tung Chou (University of New South Wales – UNSW) as External Examiner and Dr Stepan Ivanov (TSSG/WIT) as Internal Examiner, see Figure 1. Dr Martins thesis is titled “Computational Synthetic Biology for Molecular Communications” and focused in the investigation of natural bacteria behaviours, such as swimming, signalling and biofilm formation to design communications systems that run at the molecular scale. Furthermore, it is dedicated to the modelling and analysis of bacteria-based molecular communications systems to enhance the reliability and predictability of synthetic systems using genetically engineered bacteria. Its ultimate goal is to lay the groundwork for the development of novel communications technologies that diagnose and treat human diseases. Dr Martins research has been published in top tier journals and enabled him to collaborate with researchers from other countries that provided wet lab experimental data to validate the proposed communications models.
Pictured: Dr Martins, with his supervisors and PhD thesis Examiners after his successful Viva Voce on 25thNovember 2019 at the TSSG Boardroom. From the left to the right: Dr Thomas O’Toole (Session Chair), Dr Michael Barros (Co-supervisor), Dr Stepan Ivanov (Internal Examiner), Dr Daniel Martins, Dr Chun Tung Chou (External Examiner) and Sasitharan Balasubramaniam (Main Supervisor)
For conventional communications systems, the device design is investigated by Electronic Engineering and the information exchange is studied by Telecommunications Engineering. On the other hand, for biology-based communications systems, such as the ones proposed in Dr Martins research, the design of artificial devices is investigated by Synthetic Biology and the information exchange by the Molecular Communications. Therefore, Dr Martins exploited the complementarity of these two fields to design computational models that will support the development of synthetic systems that apply genetically engineered bacteria as the communications devices that exchange molecular signals as information and analyse this molecular communications system performance.
Currently, Dr Martins is a Postdoctoral Researcher at TSSG/WIT and is extending his PhD work to investigate the application of bacteria-based biosensors in the AgriTech sector as part of the VistaMilk project (a SFI research centre).