Training

Cell-free protein synthesis - try it with your favourite protein!

Quentin Dudley, a postdoc at the Earlham Institute, did a PhD in the Jewett lab (Northwestern University, Illinois) focused on the use of cell-free systems for the reconstitution of metabolic pathways and bioproduction of monoterpenes. Now he is using an OpenPlant Fund Award to establish cell-free platforms for protein synthesis in Norwich. Read more about this work below, and on www.biomaker.org

As part of this project he is recruiting participants for a workshop on cell-free protein synthesis to be held in mid-June in Norwich. It is an opportunity to try to express your favourite protein using a low-cost, high-throughput platform. Download the poster for details and contact quentin.dudley@earlham.ac.uk for details and questions.


Cell-free protein synthesis

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Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) uses crude lysates of E. coli, wheat germ, and other organisms to recapitulate transcription and translation in a test tube (Carlson et al., 2012). This enables protein production at higher throughput, shorter timescales, and simpler troubleshooting compared to expression in cells. While CFPS has several pros/cons, it is particularly powerful when testing many different protein variants/mutations with an output assay that works directly in the crude cell-free reaction.

While CFPS is getting easier to implement, buying commercial kits can get expensive and troubleshooting the first time can be challenging. In response, I’m leading a project sponsored by the OpenPlant fund to establish an in-house E. coli CFPS system (~£1 / rxn) at Norwich/Cambridge and want to compare it to a commercial wheat germ kit (£12 / rxn) for expressing proteins. We are testing a range of different proteins from various plants. If you have an interesting protein you’d like to try expressing in a cell-free system, please contact quentin.dudley@earlham.ac.uk for details!)

I’ve previously worked with CFPS as a graduate student with Michael Jewett at Northwestern University. The Jewett lab is working to develop new CFPS platforms using yeast (S. cerevisiae), chloroplasts, and CHO cells. They also are improving existing E. coli-based systems to synthesize “tricky” proteins that require complex folding environments (membrane proteins, antibodies) or contain nonstandard amino acids. During my time in the lab, I used CFPS to manufacture enzyme homologs which could then be combined to prototype metabolic pathways, for example biosynthesis of monoterpenoids.

It is a very exciting time for cell-free systems. Protein yields have increased to 2 mg/mL and a commercial company (Sutro Biopharma) has reported reaction volumes at 100 L (Zawada et al., 2011). Additionally, cell-free reactions can be freeze-dried on paper and retain full activity; several groups are using this feature to develop on-demand pharmaceuticals or simple, color-changing diagnostics for diseases such as Zika virus (Pardee et al., 2016). As this cell-free technology matures, its flexibility and programmability make it an attractive opportunity for Biomaker projects and future applications will be limited only by the creativity of researchers and developers.

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REFERENCES

Carlson, E. D., Gan, R., Hodgman, C. E., & Jewett, M. C. (2012). Cell-free protein synthesis: applications come of age. Biotechnology Advances, 30(5), 1185-1194.

Zawada, J. F., Yin, G., Steiner, A. R., Yang, J., Naresh, A., Roy, S. M., ... & Murray, C. J. (2011). Microscale to manufacturing scale‐up of cell‐free cytokine production—a new approach for shortening protein production development timelines. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 108(7), 1570-1578.

Pardee, K., Green, A. A., Takahashi, M. K., Braff, D., Lambert, G., Lee, J. W., ... & Collins, J.J. (2016). Rapid, low-cost detection of Zika virus using programmable biomolecular components. Cell, 165(5), 1255-1266.

[Closes 16 April] Accepting applications for the 2018 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Summer Course in Synthetic Biology

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We are now accepting applications for the 2018 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Summer Course in Synthetic Biology. We encourage you, your colleagues, and/or your trainees to apply if…

  • You are a scientist whose training is well underway (senior graduate student to junior faculty and beyond).
  • You are interested in steering your research in a new direction, towards synthetic biology.
  • You are interested in a multi-disciplinary approach to biology and bioengineering. We encourage students of all backgrounds, whether the very biological or very theoretical, to apply!
  • You work in the field of synthetic biology and are interested in new techniques.

Since the course began in 2013, industry professionals, graduate students, postdocs, science educators, and junior faculty have completed our immersive two-week laboratory class. The Course will focus on how the complexity of biological systems, combined with traditional engineering approaches, results in the emergence of new design principles for synthetic biology. Students will work in teams to learn the practical and theoretical underpinnings of cutting edge research in the area of Synthetic Biology. In addition, students will gain a broad overview of current applications of synthetic biology by interacting with a panel of internationally-recognized speakers from academia and industry during seminars, lab work, social activities.

Scholarships: Several stipend awards are available for applicants who are accepted into the course. Please read details about the available stipend awards at: https://meetings.cshl.edu/sponsors.aspx?course=C-SYNBIO&year=18

In order to be considered for an award, you must specifically reference which one you are eligible for in the Stipend Request section of your application.

Call for Proposals: 5th International Synthetic & Systems Biology Summer School - SSBSS 2018

The Synthetic and Systems Biology Summer School (SSBSS) is a full-immersion five-day residential summer school on cutting-edge advances in systems and synthetic biology with lectures delivered by world-renowned experts. The 2018 Summer School will take place July 25-29, 2018 at Certosa di Pontignano in Tuscany, Italy.

The school provides a stimulating environment for students (from Master students to PhD students), Post-Docs, early career researches, academics and industry leaders. Participants will also have the chance to present their results (with Oral Talks and Posters), and to interact with their peers, in a friendly and constructive environment.

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Deadlines

Application: March 31, 2018

Oral Presentation/Poster Submission: March 31, 2018

Notification of Decision for Oral/Poster Presentation: April 28, 2018

Register here >>

Keynote Speakers

* PATRICK YIZHI CAI, University of Manchester, UK

* JOHN GLASS, J. Craig Venter Institute, USA

* PHILIPP HOLLIGER, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK

* JENS NIELSEN, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

* HARRIS WANG, Columbia University, USA

* RON WEISS, MIT, USA

* LUCA ZAMMATARO, Yale University, USA

Speakers 

* Barbara Di Camillo, University of Padova, Italy

* Simone Furini, University of Siena, Italy

* Emanuele Domenico Giordano, University of Bologna, Italy

* Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro, Imperial College London, UK

* Velia Siciliano, Italian Institute of Technology, Italy

Links

Essex Synthetic Biology Summer School: 2-6 July 2018

The Essex Synthetic Biology School (ESBS) is an intensive 5-day summer course targeting students and early career scientists interested in learning cutting edge experimental and computational methods to design and build biological systems directly from world-renowned experts, working with bacterial, yeast, plant and mammalian systems, in fields such as cancer and healthcare research, as well as industrial, agricultural and environmental synthetic biology.

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Synthetic biology is an emerging research and industrial field aiming at designing and engineering biological systems with specific functions. To do that, it integrates methods and technologies from biology, chemistry, engineering, computer science and mathematics to streamline the process of designing, building and testing biological systems. In the last 10 years, synthetic biology has contributed many ground breaking scientific results, including the first synthetic cell and the first synthetic chromosomes, and industrial applications, including the production of drugs and biofuels.

The School, located at the University of Essex in the U.K., comprises 20 lectures and 5 laboratory sessions, focusing on building pathways in bacteria and yeast.

Learn more and register by 1 June 2018 >>>

Expressions of interest open for BrisSynBio 4 Day MBA (9 - 13 April 2018)

BrisSynBio will be running their successful 4 day MBA again in April 2018 and are likely to be able to offer significantly discounted (or even free) tickets to postdocs and PhD students from the UK Synthetic Biology Research Centres, including OpenPlant

Details of the 2017 course are available here: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/brissynbio/innovation/innovation-training-and-events/

Early expressions of interest should go to Andy Boyce: Andy.Boyce@bristol.ac.uk  

John Innes Centre announces EMBO practical course: "Multilevel Modelling of Morphogenesis"

"Multilevel Modelling of Morphogenesis" Venue: John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK Course Duration: 16 – 28 July 2017

Main Course Objective:

Understanding the multi-level nature and feedbacks involved in biological development requires an integrated, systems biology approach. This practical course will provide students with the theoretical background and the hands-on tools that are needed to enter this rapidly growing area of science. The methods and techniques taught in this practical course are essential for unravelling the complexities that come from interactions between different levels of biological organisation and the non linearity of the biological processes.

Target Audience:

This practical course is aimed at experimental biologists with an interest to understand and explore how the complexity of biological systems can be dealt with within a mathematical or computational framework, *and* at computationally and mathematically oriented students interested in learning leading-edge computational techniques that can be applied to gain insights in developmental biology.

How to Apply:

Please register online at https://www.conference-service.com/pc17-47/welcome.cgi stating your motivation for applying and brief research interests.

Applications will be limited to 24 students and successful applicants will be selected from the described motivation and research interests. Accommodation and full board will be provided.

*Application Deadline:* April 07, 2017.

 

For more information, please click here.

16/17 March: Programmable biology for diagnostics - impacting global health and development

09:00-16:00, Mar 16/17, 2017, The Hauser Forum, 3 Charles Babbage Rd, Cambridge CB3 0GT

These day-long workshops will introduce challenges and opportunities in the field of cell-free diagnostics, with talks from the OpenDiagnostics team, expert in the latest advances of this technology Keith Pardee (University of Toronto, Canada) and plant disease expert Dr Richard Echodu (Gulu University, Uganda). This will be followed by an interactive sandpit session, and lab practicals the following day.

Harnessing recent advances in synthetic biology, cell-free paper-based diagnostics offer a platform for low cost, easy-to-use, in-field testing systems for a wide range of possible specificities. Synthetic gene networks can be designed to generate quantifiable outputs, such as chromoproteins that lead to visual color changes, in the presence of specific input signals like heavy metal ions or viral RNA sequences. These DNA circuits can be freeze-dried onto paper, along with the cellular machinery used for gene transcription and translation. When rehydrated, a simple visible readout can be produced and little or no laboratory experience or infrastructure is required. Critically, the low cost of these strips (~0.1$/test) will enable access across low and middle income countries.

 

OpenDiagnostics is an interdisciplinary team of early career researchers with three aims: to prototype solutions to technical challenges in cell-free diagnostics, to investigate potential applications, and to connect scientific experts with stakeholders.

 

OpenDiagnostics Seminar

This morning workshop will introduce the challenges and opportunities uncovered by the team, with additional talks from the originator of the latest advances in the technology Keith Pardee (University of Toronto, Canada) and plant disease expert Dr Richard Echodu (Gulu University, Uganda).

 

OpenDiagnostics Sandpit

Get involved in tackling global health challenges using programmable biology! If you would be interested to help generate ideas and collaborate with OpenDiagnostics, you’re invited to join this interactive sandpit event. Interdisciplinary teams will tackle a range of technical challenges identified by OpenDiagnostics requiring expertise from across the natural sciences, engineering and computer science through to manufacturing, law and social sciences. Solutions may be put forward as funding proposals for the OpenPlant Fund call in July 2017, which offers £5k grants to interdisciplinary projects in synthetic biology.

 

Lab practicals (17th Mar)

Get hands on with designing logic circuits using DNA and programming cell extracts to produce colours or other reporters in response to a signal. Physicists, engineers, computer scientists and other non-biologists are particularly welcome to attend and explore new technologies that bring engineering thinking into biology. No prior experience required.

Tickets are free, however spaces are limited. To register, please click here.

 

Timetable

16th March 2017 Seminar and Sandpit sessions

9.00-9.20 Registration

9.20-10.40 About OpenDiagnostics

  • Introduction to OpenDiagnostics

  • Insights from field trips to Kenya and South Africa

10.40-11.00 Refreshments

11.00-12.00 Expert talks

  • Richard Echodu on challenges and opportunities for crop disease diagnostics in Africa

  • Keith Pardee on cell-free synthetic diagnostics and portable, on-demand biomanufacturing

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00-14.45 Focus Groups

14.45-15.00 Refreshments

15.00-15.30 Presentation of OpenPlant Fund proposal ideas

15.30-16.00 Wrapping up and networking

 

17th March 2017 - Practicals

09:00-12:00 and 13:00-16:00, Department of Veterinary Science

There will be a day long practical session taking place at the University of Cambridge department of Veterinary Medicine on the 17th of March. Details for the venue to come. 

 

Additional events

In addition to this event, there will also be an event titled: 'Programmable cell extracts - a new biomanufacturing paradigm' taking place at 18:30-9:00 on the 16th March at the Old Divinity School, St Johns College. The talk and dialogue will be followed by a wine reception and delicious finger buffet. 

This event is bookable through e-sales on the university website (registration £5). Please click here for more information.

 

Tickets and Booking

Please note that if you wish to attend several of the available sessions, you can order tickets for multiple events through the registration option. However, if you wish to attend the sandpit session on the 16th March, you need to attend the seminar session first.

 

Tickets are free, however spaces are limited. To register, please click here.

More information about this event…

16 March: Programmable Cell Extracts - A New Biomanufacturing Paradigm

Mar 16, 2017, 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM, Old Divinity School, St Johns College.

Dr. Keith Pardee (University of Toronto) and Dr. Richard Kelwick (Imperial College) discuss how use of cell extracts could revolutionise the field of biomanufacturing. The talk and dialogue will be followed by a wine reception and delicious finger buffet.

Bioengineering to produce complex control circuits like diagnostic tests, or to modify metabolic pathways for production of everything from drug and vaccines to flavours and fragrances, has typically taken place in cells that are then grown in large, industrial bioreactors. New methods, using cell extracts that can be programmed quickly and flexibly using DNA, promise a paradigm shift in biomanufacturing and paves the way to novel modes of computational biodesign, rapid prototyping and bioproduction. The opportunity to freeze-dry and ship these biofactories opens up many exciting possibilities for small scale distributed manufacturing, for example just-in-time vaccine production, and has profound implications for emerging bioeconomies.

The Synthetic Biology SRI welcomes two researchers to discuss this new area of synthetic biology and its possible futures.

Dr. Keith Pardee (University of Toronto) works at the interface of synthetic biology and human health. His research focuses on the potential of moving synthetic biology outside of the cell and dry shipment of programmable biofactories to enable diagnostics and just in time production of vaccines and biologics.

Dr. Richard Kelwick (Imperial College) researches cell-free systems and biopolymer production, including establishing cell-free methods and toolkits for new bacterial strains, most recently Bacillus subtilis. He also works on bioreporters and biosensors using synthetic gene circuits.

The talk and dialogue will be followed by a wine reception and delicious finger buffet.

For more information, and to register for the seminar (£5), please book here.

 

This event is organised by the Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative as part of our Lent Term 2017 SynBio Forum. For more events please visit http://www.synbio.cam.ac.uk/events/forum

 

Additional event

This event is being run in conjunction with a free day seminar and workshop session taking place on 16th March 2017, entitled: ‘Programmable biology for diagnostics impacting global health and development’, details of which can be found here.

More information about this event…

[Closes 15 Apr 2017] 2017 Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory Summer Course in Synthetic Biology

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory are now accepting applications for the 2017 Summer Course in Synthetic Biology.

We encourage you, your colleagues, and/or your trainees to apply if…

  • You are a scientist whose training is well underway (senior graduate student to junior faculty and beyond).
  • You are interested in steering your research in a new direction, towards synthetic biology.
  • You are interested in a multi-disciplinary approach to biology and bioengineering. We encourage students of all backgrounds, whether the very biological or very theoretical, to apply!
  • You work in the field of synthetic biology and are interested in new techniques.

 

Since the course began in 2013, industry professionals, graduate students, postdocs, science educators, and junior faculty have completed our immersive two-week laboratory class. The Course will focus on how the complexity of biological systems, combined with traditional engineering approaches, results in the emergence of new design principles for synthetic biology. Students will work in teams to learn the practical and theoretical underpinnings of cutting edge research in the area of Synthetic Biology. In addition, students will gain a broad overview of current applications of synthetic biology by interacting with a panel of internationally-recognized speakers from academia and industry during seminars, lab work, social activities.

 

Scholarships: Several stipend awards are available for applicants who are accepted into the course. Please read details about the available stipend awards at: https://meetings.cshl.edu/sponsors.aspx?course=C-SYNBIO&year=17

 

In order to be considered for an award, you must specifically reference which one you are eligible for in the Stipend Request section of your application.

Image credit: Jun Seita via Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Call for participation in 4th International Synthetic & Systems Biology Summer School - to be held in Cambridge!

The Synthetic and Systems Biology Summer School (SSBSS) is a full-immersion five-day residential summer school at the Robinson College - University of Cambridge - UK on cutting-edge advances in systems and synthetic biology with lectures delivered by world-renowned experts.

Biology meets Computer Science & Engineering

Recent advances in DNA synthesis have increased our ability to build biological systems. Synthetic Biology aims at streamlining the design and synthesis of robust and predictable biological systems using engineering design principles. Designing biological systems requires a deep understanding of how genes and proteins are organized and interact in living cells: Systems Biology aims at elucidating the cellular organization at gene, protein and network level using computational and biochemical methods.

The school provides a stimulating environment for students (from Master students to PhD students), Post-Docs, early career researches, academics and industry leaders. Participants will also have the chance to present their results (with Oral Talks and Posters), and to interact with their peers, in a friendly and constructive environment.

July 17-21, 2017 - University of Cambridge, Robinson College, UK

Website | Email | Facebook

DEADLINES

Application: March 31, 2017 Notification Acceptance: April 10, 2017 Oral Presentation/Poster Submission: March 31, 2017 Notification of Decision for Oral/Poster Presentation: April 10, 2017

SPEAKERS:

* Antonino Cattaneo, Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa, Italy * Jasmin Fisher, Microsoft Research & Cambridge Systems Biology Centre, UK * Carole Goble, University of Manchester, UK * Jim Haseloff, University of Cambridge, UK * Jay Keasling, University of California, Berkeley, USA Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA Joint BioEnergy Institute, USA * Edda Klipp, Humboldt University, Germany * Natalio Krasnogor, Centre for Synthetic Biology and Bioexploitation, Newcastle University, UK * Markus Ralser, Cambridge Systems Biology Centre, University of Cambridge, UK & The Francis Crick Institute London, UK * Uwe Sauer, Institute of Molecular Systems Biology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland * Sarah Teichmann, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute & EMBL, European Bioinformatics Institute, UK

SCHOOL DIRECTORS:

* Massimo Gulisano, University of Catania, Italy * Giuseppe Nicosia, University of Catania, Italy * Steve G. Oliver, University of Cambridge, UK

Interested in exploring cell-free synthetic biology for global health challenges? - APPLY for Development i-Teams by Friday October 7th

i-teams-cambridge

Have you ever wondered how new ideas can help people in the developing world? Are you interested in what Cambridge can do to help? If so, the Centre for Global Equality Development i-Teams programme is for you!The University of Cambridge SynBio SRI has put forward a synthetic biology-based project for the Development i-Teams Michaelmas 2016 'Exploring potential global health applications of cell-free extracts for rapid, low-cost, paper-based diagnostics', mentored by OpenPlant Fellow Dr. Fernan Federici. Find more information and how to apply below!

Global health applications of cell-free extracts for rapid, low-cost, paper-based diagnostics

Researcher : Dr. Fernan Federici, Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge and Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile

In vitro synthetic biology uses cell-free extracts from bacteria or other organisms to which DNA sequences encoding genetic circuits with useful functions are added and expressed. For example, a molecular sensor for Zika viral RNA or a pollutant heavy metal could be designed to produce a signal that regulates output of a measurable response, like high levels of a coloured chromoprotein. Beyond this simple example, DNA-encoded ‘logic gates’ could be constructed that respond in different ways to particular combinations of inputs or provide quantitative results.

Recent work combining this emerging technology with paper-based microfluidics has delivered rapid, low-cost paper tests for Ebola and Zika Virus and small molecule sensors such as glucose assays, which are stable in dried form for at least one year. As no genetic modification is involved, and a fully equipped lab is not required once the cell-free extract is produced and stably dried down, this technology is far more accessible to researchers in low-resource settings than in vivo synthetic biology. The initial cost of engineering biosensors is lowered very significantly.

The potential applications of this technology are directly relevant to diagnosing health and environmental problems faced by people developing countries. Many such problems pose significant challenges to their welfare and economic development e.g. pollution, tropical infectious diseases, animal disease, soil health. By promoting the development of a low-cost, low-resource technology platform the intention is to build capacity in-country for prototyping solutions to challenges identified as priorities locally.

The inventor of the technology, Dr. Fernan Federici, is working on open technologies including hardware and DNA parts that would further increase the ease and suitability of these cell-free systems for research, development and applied use in the global South. With reduced IP encumbrance, it is hoped that knowledge transfer can be accelerated and barriers to access reduced.

The Development i-Team will need to investigate two separate questions relevant to this technology.

First they will investigate the likely applications of paper-based synthetic gene networks in the developing world, and in particular will need to identify areas where local problems are not addressed by existing solutions and there is scope for developing local capacity for research in this area.

Secondly they will explore the commercial implications of building diagnostics based on open technologies that are freely shared and not protected by patent. How does this make a difference in the global South? How does it alter the typical value chain for such technologies? Could open approaches confer benefits in terms of access for the bottom three billion and in what contexts? In particular, are there any mechanisms of sharing IP with the local community which is directly affected by the problem?

More information on Development i-Teams and how to apply

The Centre for Global Equality and i-Teams are running the "Development i-Teams" programme for the fourth time this Michaelmas term. Teams will investigate ways in which real Cambridge innovations could be used in the developing world to improve people’s lives in a sustainable way.

This term’s projects are:

  • Establishing sustainable community cloud infrastructures in the developing world;
  • Exploring potential global health applications of cell-free extracts for rapid, low-cost, paper-based diagnostics;
  • Farming and processing microalgae to address Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Development i-Teams is open to all students (undergraduates and post-graduates), post-docs and staff, as well as all members of the Centre for Global Equality - anyone with an interest in how technology can make the world a better place for the world's poorest.

The course runs on Tuesday evenings from the 18th of October to the  22nd of November, and there will be approximately 4 hours of individual work needed each week, mostly involving gathering real-world feedback from experts in international development.

For more details and to apply for a place on a team, see http://iteamsonline.org

For more information about the work of the Centre for Global Equality see http://centreforglobalequality.org

SynBio Centre for Doctoral Training Summer School

The second year students of the EPSRC & BBSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Synthetic Biology are organizing a "Summer School - Workshop" on the 27-29 June 2016 in Oxford. On the 27th there will be talks from Industry and a workshop on commercializing research, while on the morning of the 28th there will be talks from invited academics and others. Lunch and coffee included. If you are interested, please register by filling in this form.

Agri-Tech Career Workshops inc. Synthetic Biology Theme

CambPlantsHub_NewIdentityLayout_vectorDo you want to raise your profile? Experience presenting to a multidisciplinary audience? Find ideas and inspiration? Find out how it really looks like to work in industry?

CambPlants is organising THE event to go to if you are thinking of what’s the next step in your career.

WHAT: This two part workshop series starts with a half day skills and training workshop (11th May) followed by a showcase event highlighting career options and a lot of networking opportunities with Industry representatives (5th July)

REGISTER HERE >>>

Part 1 - Career Workshop: paving the way to your career If you want to let industry know about what you doing by presenting at FarmRound, an agri-tech career afternoon, you need to participate in this workshop! A bespoke workshop focusing on ‘business-like’ presentation skills preparing you for the flash presentation to be given at FarmRound: an agri-tech career afternoon. Researchers will be given coaching. If you want to present in Part 2, this workshop is compulsory. An ‘industrial prize’ is at stake…. Register here

Part 2 – FarmRound: an agri-tech career afternoon A half day event including a keynote speaker, talks from industrialists about their careers, flash presentations from PhDs and Postdocs and lots of time for discussions. There will be an ‘Industry fair’ Drinks Reception where early career researchers can interact closely with industrialists by visiting a wide range of industry stands. The best flash presentation presented by early career researchers will win a super exciting mystery prize. programme available soon. This day will be a unique opportunity for researchers to meet with industry representatives and to understand what it is like to work in the industry sector by being aware of different career paths. Register here

FOR WHOM: Early career scientists (PhDs & Postdocs) working in plants, synthetic biology, big data, agricultural, environmental, food and other relevant sciences contributing to our food supply.

Limited places available – Register your interest NOW

EUSynBioS Symposium 2016: Engineering Biology for a Better Future

EUSynBioS_Symposium
EUSynBioS_Symposium

This weekend, the first EUSynBioS Symposium, themed Engineering Biology for a Better Future, will follow SynBioBeta at Imperial College London.

The Symposium kicks off with a Visionary keynote address from none other than synthetic biology pioneer Tom Knight (Ginkgo Bioworks). A former professor at MIT and one of the very first synthetic biology entrepreneurs, Tom will give an insight into the early days of synthetic biology and talk about what the future holds. Then, a session of scientific presentations exclusively by early career synbio researchers; providing graduate students and early career post-docs a platform to present their research to peers and senior scientists.

Post-lunch, the symposium will break into smaller breakout sessions on various topics from biodiversity to design and public engagement. Led by excellent fellow members, these sessions are a great opportunity to hear other people's views on important issues in synbio today. Two inspiring speakers - Luke Alphey (Oxitec) and Emily LeProust (Twist BioSciences) - will then talk about their career paths to setting up world changing synbio companies. A must for all budding synbio entrepreneurs! Michele Garfinkel (former Policy Analyst at the J.Craig Venter Institute, and currently at EMBO) will talk next, on the world of policy making and how we can make a difference in how synbio is legislated in the future.

Finally, the symposium will close with an Open Discussion on a topic chosen by you: Gene Drives! Gene Drives have gotten a lot of press in the last few months and we have none other than the scientist who coined the term, Austin Burt (Imperial College London), joined by Michele Garfinkel and Luke Alphey, giving an introduction to what this fascinating technology holds for the future. This session is a forum to express views and get answers from experts about gene drives: How do they work? Will they change the world for the better? Is it ethical to do so? ...and many more questions, we’re sure!

[spacer height="20px"] EUSynBioS Symposium 2016: Engineering Biology for a Better Future

Sat, Apr 9, 2016 - 8:00amSun, Apr 10, 2016 - 7:00pm

Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London, SW7 2AZ

Get help to improve your research software - deadline April 29th

If you write code as part of your research, then you can get help to improve it - free of charge - through the Software Sustainability Institute's Open Call for Projects. The call closes on April 29 2016.

Apply here!

You can ask for our help to improve your research software, your development practices, or your community of users and contributors (or all three!). You may want to improve the sustainability or reproducibility of your software, and need an assessment to see what to do next. Perhaps you need guidance or development effort to help improve specific aspects or make better use of infrastructure.

We accept submissions from any discipline, in relation to research software at any level of maturity, and are particularly keen to attract applications from BBSRC and ESRC funding areas.

The Software Sustainability Institute is a national facility funded by the EPSRC. Since 2010, the Institute's Research Software Group[1] has assisted over 50 projects across all the UK Research Councils. In an ongoing survey, 93% of our previous collaborators indicated they were "very satisfied" with the results of the work. To see how we've helped others, you can check out our portfolio of past and current projects[2].

A typical Open Call project runs between one and six months, during which time we work with successful applicants to create and implement a tailored work plan. You can submit an application to the Open Call at any time, which only takes a few minutes, at http://bit.ly/ssi-open-call-projects.

We’re also interested in partnering on proposals. If you would like to know more about the Open Call, or explore options for partnership, please get in touch with us at info@software.ac.uk.

CUTEC Bio-Hackathon - apply now!

CdvYPhMWAAAneP7 With support from the University of Cambridge SynBio Fund, CUTEC is hosting the UK’s first ever bio-focused “hackathon” in the University of Cambridge. Interdisciplinary teams will take on some of the greatest challenges facing biology.

This event is about putting together diverse teams to tackle a unique biological problem. If you are a scientist (from ANY discipline), an artist, an economist or have any unique experience and set of skills we want to hear from you! You will spend four days in a University synthetic biology lab where you will have access to hardware, software and biology prototyping tools. The challenge will be revealed to our teams on Tuesday. The final day of the competition will be a pitch at our annual Technology Ventures Conference with over 300 investors, VCs, startups, academics and students. Judges from industry will decide on the most novel solutions. We also will offer the most commercial solution as much help as we can to take it to the next stage. The winning team gets a £1500 cash prize!

The event will run from Tuesday 21st June 6pm to Saturday 25th June 12am. Solutions will be judged on innovative nature and commercial viability. Teams will present their solutions on stage at CUTEC’s flagship Technology Ventures Conference (TVC) in front of investors, academics, students, and incubators.

Individuals who are interested in taking part will apply via the website (www . biohackathon . co . uk) application deadline May 30th) and teams of 3-5 will be assembled. A well-rounded group of researchers from different disciplines is strongly encouraged. Anyone in the UK can apply individually (team assembled by our committee) or as a team. Scholarships are available to those from outside the Cambridge/London area to cover accommodation and travel.

£1500 cash prize is awarded to the winning team, as well as support to commercialise your ideas through in-kind funding.

In your team you will be introduced to the challenge by an expert in the field then led through a brainstorming session. You will then have four days to refine your solution before presenting to a panel of judges from industry, government, start-ups and academia for feedback on the feasibility of your solution. Winning teams will present their solution on stage at the TVC on June 25th.

Who should apply?

Undergraduates and Post-graduates at any UK University, school, company or otherwise. All fields are encouraged we need: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Computing, Business, International Relations, Anthropology, Art, Design, Marketing, and others! Whatever you do, if you are interested in working on a diverse team to create sustainable solutions to real problems, apply!

Applicants may be individuals. If there is a partner that you would prefer to be placed on a team with, please state this in your application. We want to encourage participants to meet and work with new people but if you already have a team then you may do so but applicants may not apply in teams of more than 5 people.

Why should I apply?

Do you want to challenge yourself intellectually in a collaborative environment?

Do you want to meet new friends and potential future work/research partners?

Are you interested in entrepreneurship but don’t have an idea or a team and just don’t know where to start?

This challenge will foster a community of like-minded researchers and entrepreneurs who want to create a better world. The main focus is solving a problem together; however, if a suitable technology is developed during the project, CUTEC will provide resources for the team to turn that idea into a start-up venture. Our panel of judges providing feedback at the end of the event and who attend our Technology Venture Conference are always looking for bright, fresh talent to enhance their businesses, labs, and initiatives.

How do I apply?

Application forms will be available on our website: www . biohackathon . co . uk

Scholarships

A number of scholarships are available to individuals and teams to cover costs of travel, housing and expenses. Teams outside the Cambridge/London area will be given preference. Please indicate if you can approach other sponsors (societies, university department or other) to help support expenses.

We thank the Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge for funding.

When/Where will it occur?

Applications are due midnight May 30th. Teams will be announced on June 1st.

Entries are accepted either by teams or individuals and assembled into teams by the committee.

The event will run from Tuesday 21st June 6pm to Saturday 25th June 12am in the Department of Plant Sciences University of Cambridge. Judging will occur and presentations awarded at the annual Technology Ventures Conference (TVC) where teams will have the opportunity to pitch and present their solutions.

Enter!

2016 Synthetic Genome Summer Course: July 3rd to July 7th

In conjunction with the Annual Sc2.0 and Synthetic Genomes Conference, the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London and the BBSRC are running an exciting 5-day residential summer school in Edinburgh teaching the practical lab techniques and theory behind genome synthesis, CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering and advanced synthetic biology. This innovative course runs for the 5-days before the Sc2.0 conference and as part of the package all participants get attendance to the conference, as well as 7 nights en-suite accommodation and meals. Registration is now open and spaces are very limited. For more details and for registration please visit the Synthetic Genome Summer Course website: http://syntheticgenomes.wordpress.com/

Package Price: £420 Enquiries: b.blount@imperial.ac.uk

Find out more >>>

Apply to CUTEC Sustainable Futures Challenge with your sustainable synthetic biology ideas

sustainable_future_2016
sustainable_future_2016

In line with the theme of this year’s CUTEC’s Technology Ventures Conference (TVC), this new, interactive initiative will gather the best and brightest Cambridge students, academics, staff, and alumni to tackle problems relating to the question:

“How can we enable sustainable supply and production of food and water in a sustainable fashion?”

A resource is defined as a source or supply from which a benefit/need can be obtained in order to function effectively. The UN has estimated that in 15 years we will need 30% more water, 45% more energy, and 50% more food than today. The percent of arable land in the world is estimated to be 13.31% with only 4.71% sustaining permanent crops. However, by rethinking what counts as a “resource” people are finding clever ways to produce food in inhospitable environments, for example one experiment in the desert of Qatar takes advantage of abundant sunlight and seawater to turn out 75 kg of vegetables per square meter. How can we adapt to less than ideal environments to continue to live comfortably while supporting a planet of over 7 billion humans?

We will place scientists, engineers, business students, social scientists, and artists on teams to solve one of three challenges: (1) Compost, (2) Soil structure, and (3) Seed distribution. Solutions will need to take into account and will be judged on efficiency, sustainability, and economy.

Teams will workshop their ideas with industry experts at four workshops over the course of eight weeks and then present their solutions on stage at the TVC in front of investors, academics, students, and incubators.

CLICK TO FIND OUT ABOUT THE LAUNCH EVENT >>>

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TO THE SFC >>>

The Challenges

Compost Challenge

Studies show that compost use in arable rotations can improve yields and resilience. Tons of organic, compostable material is thrown out in cities every day. How can we create an economical way to sort and get organic waste from cities to farms?

Soil Structure Challenge

The physical structure of soil affects crop development and yields.  Detailed soil structure tests can be performed in labs, but this is time consuming and costly. Can we make better in-the-field tool(s) to let allow farmers to check soil structure and resilience?

Seed Distribution Challenge

Cover-cropping is a great way to rehabilitate soil and can provide wide ranging benefits in farming systems. The most success often comes with mixing multiple species; however, these species have seeds of different sizes and shapes which makes it difficult to spread them evenly using current technology. Can we create a way to make it practical for farmers to sow seeds of different sizes?

ContentMine Workshop & Hackathon at TGAC: mining for synthetic biology

poster
poster

Find out more and register >>>

Supported by the OpenPlant Fund
Interested in using mining technologies for synthetic biology?

Content mining technologies hold much potential for maximising scientific discovery and the reuse of research through automated searching, indexing and analysing of scientific literature.

In this workshop, we aim to educate and engage technologists and biologists who are interested in using mining technologies for synthetic biology; to better enable access to research literature and data in plant synthetic biology.

The hackathon on Day Two aims to improve searching and indexing of plant synthetic biology texts through open source technology platforms developed by the Grassroots Genomics project at TGAC and the ContentMine platform from the University of Cambridge.

Target Audience

Best suited to biologists and bioinformaticians who have some experience of using command line tools or the enthusiasm to pick this up! As such, formal programming experience is not a requirement, but you may find it useful to attend the Software Carpentry Bootcamp held at TGAC prior to this event.

Course prerequisites: Basic prior knowledge of programming concepts.

Course details

The registration fee is £50.00 (plus booking fee of 2.13 per cent) – refundable on attendance (minus booking fee) which will be processed post event.

We are also able to reimburse up to two nights accommodation with a limit of £80.00 per night (receipts required).

Scientific Organisers:

Emily Angiolini, The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), UK Rob Davey, The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), UK Richard Smith-Unna, University of Cambridge, UK

Course Faculty:

Rob Davey, The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), UK Richard Smith-Unna, University of Cambridge, UK

Further Details:

Venue: The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), UK Application deadline: Friday 26 February 2016 Participation: First come, first served

Building a Synthetic Biology-rich Biotech Business from Scratch - new course from SynbiCITE

From the UK KTN Synthetic Biology SIG As part of SynbiCITE’s drive to commercialise synthetic biology through taking R&D excellence in the lab to the development of tools, products, processes and services for high value manufacturing industries, they have developed a ‘4-day More Business Acumen (MBA)’ course to help develop the natural entrepreneurship that is so keenly demonstrated across their wide range of partners.

Deadline to apply to participate: 4 Dec 2015 For more info and to apply >>>