SynBio SRI events in Cambridge, October

Sculpting evolution: engineering biology to address global disease challenges Venue: Howard Building, Downing College, Cambridge

Date: 18 October 2016, 7:30pm - 9pm followed by drinks reception

Register: Dr Kevin Esvelt (MIT Media Lab) and Professor Luke Alphey (Pirbright Insitute, founder of Oxitec Ltd) examine the science, ethics and regulation of  genetic engineering to control mosquito-borne disease. What promise does this emerging technology hold and how do we ensure it is used responsibly?

Programmable biology in the test tube

Venue: Department of Plant Sciences, Downing Site

Date: 19 October 2016, 09:00-17:00, including talks and practical

Register: Synthetic gene circuits can be used to generate rapid and low-cost paper-based diagnostics for diseases including Zika and Ebola. Dr Vincent Noireaux (University of Minnesota), Dr Nick Rollins (Cambridge Consultants) and Dr Fernan Federici (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and University of Cambridge) present the technology and its disruptive implications during these lunchtime seminars and a hands-on prototyping workshop (application required). The OpenPlant Fund will launch a linked call for mini-grants to support interdisciplinary collaborations on the theme of in vitro synthetic biology.

Synthetic biology for regenerative medicine

Venue: Old Divinity School, St John’s College, St Johns St, Cambridge CB2 1TP

Date: 8 Nov 2016, 18:30 - 20:00 followed by networking reception with buffet

Registration (£10/£5): Link to be posted to when live Professor Ron Weiss (MIT) introduces the design  and implementation of synthetic gene circuits in mammalian systems, exploring the potential of this approach in regenerative medicine and stem cell engineering. The talk and dialogue will be followed by a wine reception and delicious finger buffet.

7th October - SynBio for Schools: A multidisciplinary approach

Information and Ideas Meeting, Cambridge

Friday 7th October, 16:30 – 18:30 Cambridge Makespace, 16 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX

Register here:

Synthetic biology applies design and engineering approaches to biology, and promises to contribute solutions to pressing global challenges. The success of this highly interdisciplinary field depends not only on skills as diverse as molecular biology, computer modelling, engineering, social sciences and design, but also an ability of individuals to build bridges across disciplines. The Synthetic Biology for Schools project aims to bring together a set of activities and resources to enable school groups and science clubs to explore the synthetic biology space. Read more about the project below.

I invite you to join the meeting at 4.30pm on 7th October at Cambridge Makespace. Maybe you already have educational activities and resources that can be shared and fit into this context (including, but not limited to molecular biology, engineering, standards and modularisation, circuitry, computer modelling, responsible research and innovation). Maybe you are interested in developing new synthetic biology learning resources, or maybe you are interested in new activities that you can use to engage school pupils or the public.

This meeting coincides with the Co-Lab Big Making Weekend run by the Open Science School so that people from this event can also attend. Please check out their event pages if you would like to get involved in some of the ongoing projects.

There will be a second meeting and 1-day hackathon in Norwich in November (date TBC) for those who wish to join. It will not be essential to attend both meetings.

Project Overview Synthetic biologists in Norwich and Cambridge and collaborators from the Open Science School, The SAW Trust, and Universidad Catolica (Chile) are working on several ideas for developing educational materials, tools and practicals to bring multidisciplinary science and synthetic biology into schools. Some of these resources are already in development. In addition, open hardware is being created that could be used by schools to support practicals in this area. While each of these resources are valuable on their own, by bringing them together there is an opportunity for increasing their reach and effectiveness, and therefore their overall impact. In this project we propose to i) identify relevant activities, resources and amterials and bring them together into a comprehensive set to explain the principles, tools and applications of synthetic biology; ii) develop video and infographic materials that provide a context for these resources; iii) bring together key stakeholders and facilitate discussions with potential end users, and; iv) identify routes for dissemination and create an action plan to maximise their use. The outcome will be a complete package of activities, supporting information and hardware that can be successfully used in schools to introduce synthetic biology with a focus on plants, and to provide learning opportunities across a wide range of disciplines. Our intention within the scope of this project is to target the resources for schools in the local area, but we are also looking at national and international opportunities for dissemination. Initially we are looking at targetting school groups and science clubs from GCSE level on, but we will keep an open mind about target groups as there may be opportunities to pitch the resources towards different groups such as undergraduates, DIY bio communities and the general public.

This project is funded by an OpenPlant Fund mini-grant.

Workshop, 8-10 Nov 2016: Taming Plant Viruses - Fundamental Biology to Bionanotechnology

Biochemistry society focused meeting - information taken from Biochemistry Society website

Taming Plant Viruses - Fundamental Biology to Bionanotechnology

8—10 November 2016

Atholl Palace Hotel, Pitlochry, UK

A Biochemical Society Focused Meeting

Recent advances in our understanding of virus biology have made it possible to integrate the activities of the wider plant virology community with the industry-focused work of bio-nanotechnologists.

This meeting will bring together scientists from academic and industry backgrounds, and at different career stages, wishing to apply plant viruses to plant, human and animal health challenges.

This meeting will provide opportunities to discuss concepts, share new perspectives and stimulate new collaborations, making this meeting an important step towards realizing the potential of plant virus-based nanotechnology.


Abstract deadline: Friday 23 September 2016

Abstract Submission is now open

Early bird registration deadline: Friday 23 September 2016

Registration is now open


Fuel Your Passion for Engineering Biology at SynBioBeta SF 2016 (Oct. 4th-6th) - Special offer on registration

SynBioBeta SF 2016 - Fuel Your Passion for Engineering Biology, Oct. 4th-6th, (San Francisco, CA) SynBioBeta SF 2016 is the prime conference for the synthetic biology industry – bringing the global community together to drive technology and business forward. This conference features a program full of talks from key thought-leaders, decision makers, and tech pioneers. Networking opportunities amongst key industry leaders provides an environment rich for expanding your company’s reach. Make critical connections ideal for business growth or launching your next product. If you are an active part of the synthetic biology industry and have a passion for making biology easier to engineer, then this is a must attend event. Highlighted topics for this year include the future of food, biosecurity, engineered cell therapies, DNA storage, public engagement, and more!

Open Plant Network Gets 20% Off Registration. Use Code OPNSAVE20Learn More & Register

OpenPlant Forum 2016: Reprogramming Agriculture with SynBio

Many early efforts of synthetic biology have focussed on the engineering of microbes, especially for the growing biotech industry. In contrast to single cell microbes, multi-cellular organisms such as plants present a higher level complexity, take longer to engineer, and the regulatory system can be a tough and time consuming to navigate - but there are huge opportunities for delivering social, environmental and economic benefits through efforts to reprogramme plants and agriculture. They come with their own distinct set of ethical, legal, social and economic questions. The above were topics central to discussions at the 2016 OpenPlant Forum. Over one hundred people from various disciplines assembled to hear about some of the recent advances in crop and feedstock engineering, discover the latest tools to support innovation in this field, and to reflect on and discuss the ethical, legal, social, and economic questions.

Events kicked off at the John Innes Conference Centre, Norwich, with a networking evening and industry showcase, including two exciting new local developments: Martin Stocks (Plant BioScience Ltd) talked about Leaf Systems®, a translational facility being built to scale up protein and chemical production in plants; and Tony West gave a preview of the new DNA Foundry at the Earlham Institute, which has since been officially launched.

The first full day of the Forum opened with a double bill of keynotes from Allan Green (CSIRO) and Jonathan Napier (Rothamsted) talking about their impressive efforts engineering oilseed crops. It continued with a case study of AB Sugar's Wissington sugarbeet processing site, providing an inspiring processing model for maximising production from a feedstock and it's byproducts. This was followed by a cross-discipline exploration of some recent advances and future opportunities for reprogramming agriculture. In the final session of the day, Spencer Adler (Bioeconomy Capital) gave an investors perspective, followed by a lively debate on the ethical, legal, social and economic considerations of developments in this area. Discussions continued into the night at the conference dinner.

Day two grounded the discussions back in the technical, with a focus on tools to support synthetic biology, especially in plants. The day started with Tom Knight opening the curtains to an exhilarating view of Ginkgo Bioworks and some of their latest developments. Moving back to plant chassis, advances establishing the liverwort Marchantia as a simple plant chassis were showcased alongside work developing tools and methods for other plant chassis. The final session of the event focussed on tools to enable innovation through sharing of knowledge, data and materials - a key focus of the OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre.

Steven Burgess and Cindy Chan have published a detailed write-up of the OpenPlant Forum on the PLOS Synbio Community blog: Seven Developments in SynBio: Science, Patents and Ethics | OpenPlant Forum 2016

Blog post written by Colette Matthewman Photos by Matt Heaton

CamCreatives | Reframe: Get unstuck and create breakthrough ideas


CamCreatives event - sign up here

Wednesday 29th June, 7-9pm Hot Numbers Cafe Dale's Brewery, Gwydir St, Cambridge, CB1 2LJ

Title: Reframe: Get unstuck and create breakthrough ideas

Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing and expecting different results” Simply changing your mindset and behaviour can create better outcomes for you and your team. Experience for yourself the world’s most successful creative leadership programme to solve real challenges here in Cambridge.

[spacer height="20px"] THNK School of Creative Leadership ’s mission is to catalyze innovative solutions to the world’s challenges through experiential learning programmes. At this workshop you will learn how you can adapt your own mindset to get the most out of team working. You’ll experience an interactive session using THNK methodology to help generate new perspectives and come up with new solutions. You’ll apply the methodology to a real challenge by a local group and there’ll be a prize for the winning solution. John Monks is a lifelong changemaker, startup cofounder and digital transformation expert. He completed the THNK Leadership Programme in 2015 and is on a mission to make the world a better connected place. John found himself drawn to purposeled work and is committed to bringing knowledge and tools into the world’s leading companies. Tonight John will present you with key challenges facing our city and introduce a key THNK methodology to apply to these challenges live. You will leave enabled to lead in a more creative way in your work and have greater impact. John will be joined by Nicky Shepard, founder of Cambridge Style Week, who is committed to building a creative space for Cambridge a community with the space, tools and resources to leverage the creativity in our City and have lasting impact. Poet and food activist Peter Bickerton will also be on hand to entertain us.

[spacer height="20px"] John is cofounder of DOTWORKS , a startup aiming to make the world a betterconnected place, and Trustee of ActionAid, and international charity working with the poorest women and children in the world, changing their lives for good. Nicky Shepard is a creative thinker and leader, the founder of Cambridge Style Week and committed to helping people build successful businesses. Her experience runs across drama and performing arts, events management, marketing and community building. Peter Bickerton is a science communicator, poet and writer based in Norwich. Responsible for promoting the research of The Genome Analysis Centre and the wider scientific community, he is also an enthusiastic ambassador for Thought for Food and a passionate insect eating connoisseur.

Plant Synthetic Biology at GARNet2016: Innovation in the Plant Sciences


Plant Synthetic Biology is the topic of a dedicated session at the GARNet2016 meeting this September, in addition to a workshop on CRISPR-Cas. If you missed out on the GARNet/OpenPlant CRISPR workshop last year, this is a great chance to get familiar with this increasingly important technique.

From the GARNet website:

GARNet2016: Innovation in the Plant Sciences. September 6th-7th 2016, Cardiff.

Registration is now open for the exciting GARNet2016 meeting. We have put together a set of talks on a broad range of subjects that are all linked by their use of novel experimental techniques.

Session 1: Frontiers in Plant Imaging

Session 2: Enabling the Translational Pipeline

Session 3: Plant Synthetic Biology

Session 4: Genomics tools for Gene Discovery

Session 5: Cell Signaling

In addition we will have three workshops that aim to support new technologies that are available to plant scientists:

* Pre-Meeting Workshop: Finding your Arabidopsis Gene in Wheat.

Organiser: Philippa Borrill and Cristobal Uauy

* Workshop 1: Usage and Application development within Araport.

Organiser: Agnes Chan and Chris Town

* Workshop 2: Introduction to CRISPR-Cas, troubleshooting target design and verification of mutants. Organiser: Vladimir Nekrasov and Amanda Hopes

We encourage young researchers to participate in our extended poster session and to apply to give a 2 minute flash presentation.

All information about registration, conference accomodation and the scientific programme can be found at:

GARNet will have at least £500 available to support travel of UK-based PhD students to the meeting. This money will be distributed on a first come, first-serve basis. Please contact Geraint Parry ( about the availability of these travel scholarships.

Please pass this information about GARNet2016 onto anyone who you think will be interested in this conference. If you have any questions please contact Geraint Parry

Genome Editing and the Future of Farming (attendance sponsorship available)


On the 6th September, leaders in the field of livestock genetics will gather at The Roslin Institute where they will discuss the future of farming and the implications of Genome Engineering. A series of talks and panel discussion sessions will examine the global scene and case studies from academia and industry, highlighting the opportunities and challenges in the field.

Who should attend?

Researchers in academia or industry and policy makers with interests in food security and the livestock sector, particularly in the genetic techniques to improve livestock and the regulatory issues surrounding these new technologies.

Sign Up >>>

Sponsorship for Early Career Researchers

The Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is supporting this event with the offer of attendance sponsorship for UK university-based early careers researchers who register for this meeting and are working currently on BBSRC-funded research. BBSRC will consider sponsoring up to 10 individuals within this category, which is defined as BBSRC-funded post-doctoral research staff with five years or less of total active research employment.

  • Sponsorship will be offered in the form of reimbursement of travel and subsistence costs after meeting attendance
  • Researchers who may be eligible for BBSRC sponsorship should register via the process defined for all meeting attendees. Once registered, please request a sponsorship application form from Emilie Brady (; the deadline for submission of completed applications is 5pm Wednesday 6th July 2016.
  • Awardees will be selected by BBSRC Office, taking into account the need for scientific range and researcher / institutional diversity. Registrants for this meeting should therefore be prepared to meet their own attendance costs if unsuccessful. Sponsorship applicants will be informed of the outcome by Friday 22nd July 2016

Source: Genome Editing and the Future of Farming – The National Institutes of Bioscience

Synthetic Biology UK 2016

biochemical logo

14—16 November 2016: Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, UK

Synthetic Biology is a field that has rapidly expanded. It relies on multidisciplinary approaches and delivers transdisciplinary advances that have the potential to redefine our understanding of the natural world and to significantly contribute to our society and economy.

The UK is a world leader in science and engineering, and Synthetic Biology has been identified as an important area for our continued success. Key to that success is a cohesive, vibrant and multidisciplinary community, open to collaboration, open to advances and driven to exceptional research with meaningful outcomes.

That cannot be delivered by a single research centre, single funding body or hosted by a single learned society. The SynBio UK conference aims to showcase UK Synthetic Biology research and to create a focal point for the community, embracing its diversity and fostering its growth and its engagement with society.

Topics covered in this meeting will be published in Biochemical Society Transactions

Abstract deadline: 12 September 2016 Abstract submission is now available

Earlybird registration deadline: 12 September 2016

Oral communication slots are available at this meeting. All attendees, particularly researchers in the early stages of their career, are invited to submit a poster abstract for consideration as an oral communication.

Student Bursaries are available for this meeting. Not a member of the Biochemical Society? Join today and save up to £100 on your registration fee.

For more information, including the full program, please see here.

SYNENERGENE Forum 24-25th June 2016 Amsterdam

visions of the future

Synthetic Biology – visions of the future

SYNENERGENE Forum 24-25th June 2016 Amsterdam

The SYNENERGENE Forum is a large public event which will discuss the promises and implications of synthetic biology from a societal perspective.

Synthetic biology From the beginning of this century synthetic biology has emerged as a new engineering science of life. It uses the rapidly increasing possibilities for both “reading” and “writing” DNA to design and synthesize living cells and biological systems with functions that do not exist in nature. Synthetic biology offers new options for innovation in the fields of health care and sustainable production of energy and materials, but may also more and more become a subject of public controversy about potential risks and commercial exploitation of natural resources.

Responsible research and innovation In order to deal with the governance challenges resulting from this tension, we need to establish conditions for responsible research and innovation (RRI) in the field. As a European mobilization and mutual learning action plan, involving nearly thirty parties from all over Europe, SYNENERGENE contributes to this aim. During the two-day Forum event we want to share our RRI experiences and achievements with relevant stakeholders and publics, including scientists, civil society organizations, industry and policy makers, and discuss the development of a synthetic biology agenda for the (near) future. Addressing the synthetic biology agenda implies a focus on: • Opportunities of synthetic biology relating to societal challenges • Concerns about synthetic biology relating to possible negative implications • Engagement with synthetic biology as a contribution to responsible research and innovation

Program The SYNENERGENE Forum offers a two-day program on Friday and Saturday 24-25th June in the Amsterdam Science Centre NEMO ( The first day is a conference with plenary and parallel sessions focusing on core issues and activities addressed by SYNENERGENE. During the second day SYNENERGENE partners will put “synthetic biology on stage” through debates, theatrical performances and a BIO·FICTION film festival.

For full program and to register, please see here:

8th International Workshop on Bio-Design Automation (IWBDA), Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, August 16-18, 2016

The Eighth International Workshop on Bio-Design Automation (IWBDA) at Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK will bring together researchers from the synthetic biology, systems biology, and design automation communities to discuss concepts, methodologies and software tools for the computational analysis and synthesis of biological systems.


IWBDA offers a forum for cross-disciplinary discussion, with the aim of seeding and fostering collaboration between the biological and the design automation research communities. This year’s IWBDA will be hosted by the Interdisciplinary Computing and Complex BioSystems (ICOS) research group, Newcastle University.

OpenPlant is assembling a delegation to attend this highly relevant meeting - if you would like to attend with others from the centre, please contact Jenny Molloy on

Find out more at the event website >>

[Download flyer]

Topics of interest include

  • Design methodologies for synthetic biology.
  • Standardization of biological components.
  • Automated assembly techniques.
  • Computer-aided modeling and abstraction techniques.
  • Engineering methods inspired by biology.
  • Domain specific languages for synthetic biology.
  • Data exchange standards and models for synthetic biology.

This year’s IWBDA will host the BDAthlon programming contest, where teams are given a set of programming challenges and then work to solve these challenges. In addition, there will be a satellite workshop on the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL).

Key Dates

  • Abstract submission deadline: April 15, 2016
  • Scholarship application due: April 30, 2016
  • Abstract and scholarship notification: May 13, 2016
  • BDAthlon team application due: May 20, 2016
  • SBOL workshop: August 15, 2016
  • BDAthlon Competition: August 16, 2016
  • Main IWBDA workshop: August 17-18, 2016

Registration will be open soon.

Abstract submission

Abstracts for oral and poster presentations should be two pages long, following ACM SIG Proceedings format. Detailed instructions can be found at:

ACS Synthetic Biology IWBDA 2016 Special Issue

All attendees will also be invited to submit to ACS Synthetic Biology “IWBDA 2016” Special Issue. ACS Synthetic Biology has the highest editorial standards, offers rapid publication of your research findings and imposes NO author submission, page, color, or cover art charges. We are looking for high quality submissions, for peer-review, as either short Letters or full-length Articles. The submission deadline will be announced soon.

Organizing Committee

Please feel free to contact the organizers with questions at:

  • Co-General Chair - Anil Wipat, Newcastle University
  • Co-General Chair - Pietro Lio', University of Cambridge
  • Finance Chair - Traci Haddock, iGem Foundation
  • Co-Local Chair - Goksel Misirli, Newcastle University
  • Co-Local Chair - Harold Fellermann, Newcastle University
  • Publication Chair - Avi Robinson-Mosher, Harvard University
  • Programme Committee Chair - Chris French, The University of Edinburgh

IWBDA is organized by the non-profit Bio-Design Automation Consortium (BDAC).


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


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.


OpenPlant Plant Fund 2016 - Pitches on Mon 14 March announced!

OpenPlantFund-Jan2016-Slider We've got a fantastic line-up of teams pitching for the OpenPlant Fund - £5000 grants to support innovative, open and interdisciplinary projects to engineer plant biology. All are welcome to hear the teams 13:00-16:30 on Mon 14 March in the Large Lecture Theatre, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge. We'll be sticking strictly to time, so feel free to drop in even if you can only make it for a couple of pitches.

Pitch Timetable

14 March 2016, 13:00 - 16:30 Large Lecture Theatre, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge

Time Project Title
13:00 Opening remarks
13:15 Hot Tomato: Complementation of the Capsaicin Biosynthetic Pathway to Engineer Spicy Tomatoes
13:30 Synthetic Biology for Schools: A multidisciplinary approach
13:40 Implementation of a synthetic transcriptional AND gate in the chloroplast of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
13:50 Co-lab OpenPlant - interdisciplinary workshops of science art and design
14:00 Desktop plant experiment box
14:10 Environmental sensor networks based on plant electrical signalling.
14:20 Coffee Break
14:50 Plant electro-mechanics
15:00 Advancing the ability to image single RNA molecules at the cellular level
15:10 Establish a Procedure for Rapid Identification of Genetic Parts for Use in Algal Biotechnology
15:20 Establishing 3D Printed Microfluidics for Molecular Biology Workflows
15:30 Universal precise large area colony scanning stage with measurement and selection tool integration
15:40 Development of an Open Source Autonomous Imaging Station for Distribution in High Schools, Universities, and Emerging DIY Scientific Communities.
15:50 Printable SynBioLab - a feasability study
16:00 A synthetic biology approach to investigating arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in Marchantia paleacea
16:10 Closing remarks

EUSynBioS Symposium: Registration Open!

EUSynBioS is an organisation for students and postdocs in synthetic biology research in Europe, founded by University of Cambridge plant synthetic biologist Christian Boehm, is holding its first EUSynBioS Symposium, themed Engineering Biology for a Better Future at Imperial College London, 9-10 April 2016.

From EUSynBioS:

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 us an insight into the early days of synthetic biology and talk about what the future holds. Next up we have a session of scientific presentations exclusively by early career synbio researchers, i.e. you! We want the symposium to provide graduate students and early career post-docs a platform where they present their research to peers and senior scientists. I’m sure other members and PIs attending can’t wait to see more cutting edge synthetic biology research, so register and submit your abstracts until the 1st of April!

Post-lunch the symposium breaks up 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 express your views and hear others on important issues in synbio today. We then have two inspiring speakers, Luke Alphey (Oxitec) and Emily LeProust (Twist BioSciences) talking about their career paths to setting up world changing synbio companies. A must for all budding synbio entrepreneurs! We hear about efforts to regulate synbio technologies from gene synthesis to gene editing regularly. Michele Garfinkel (former Policy Analyst at the J.Craig Venter Institute, and currently at EMBO) will talk next, guiding us through the world of policy making and talk about how we can make a difference in how synbio is legislated in the future.

And finally, we close the symposium 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 us an introduction to what this fascinating technology holds for the future. This session is a forum for you the express your 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!

If any of these topics (or indeed all!) interest you, or if you want to meet and interact with other synthetic biologists, this symposium is made for you!

Register for the event here, and we hope to see you all in April!

Your EUSynBioS Steering Committee

Workshop: From Big Data to Discovery in Plant Science (21-22 April 2016)

Integrating Large Data into Plant Science21–22 April 2016 Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon

Organisers: Sabina Leonelli, Ruth Bastow, Geraint Parry, David Salt Further information >>>

Aims of the workshop This workshop brings together prominent biologists, data scientists, database leads, publishers, representatives of learned societies and funders to discuss ways of harnessing and integrating large plant data to foster discovery. Over the last decade, data infrastructures such as cloud, grids and repositories have garnered attention and funding as crucial tools to facilitate the re-use of existing datasets. This is a complex task, and within plant science a variety of strategies have been developed to collect, combine and mine research data for new purposes. This workshop aims to review these strategies, identify examples of best practices and successful re-use both within and beyond plant science, and discuss both technical and institutional conditions for effective data mining.

In particular, workshop participants will

  • assess how effective the mining of existing large datasets and their re-use by others has been in advancing plant biology,
  • identify current bottlenecks and barriers in the data dissemination, mining and reuse pipelines,
  • highlight areas of plant science that are falling behind in the big data era,
  • explore how data infrastructures can effectively harness community knowledge,
  • evaluate business models and incentives for data users to donate resources, acknowledge databases and provide feedback that can be widely shared and provide added value to the resource.

The workshop is jointly organized by the Exeter Centre for the Study of Life Sciences (Egenis) and GARNet, with funding from BBSRC and the European Research Council.

Participation to this workshop is free, but numbers are limited. Prospective participants are required to register as soon as possible by sending an email containing a brief statement of motivation for interest in the workshop to Geraint Perry.

Registration opens for EUSynBioS Symposium 2016: Engineering Biology for a Better Future

EUSynBioS Symposium 2016: Engineering Biology for a Better Future

9 April, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom

We are witnessing an exciting time in the history of synthetic biology. Wide recognition of the field's tranformative potential over the past decade has inspired the emergence of a remarkable number of young synthetic biology initiatives and communities around the globe. By what principles, standards, and interactions can they best realise their potential in making the world a better place?

It is to approach this question that we will bring together an enthusiastic international group of young synthetic biologists (embracing undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdocs) for 1.5 days packed with stimulating talks, group discussions, bioindustry interaction, speed networking, and biohacking. Our overall goal is nothing less than to develop a vision for the young synthetic biology community.

Please check the event website for a more detailed schedule (regularly updated as speakers are confirmed).

EU Workshop on Access and Benefit Sharing under Nagoya Protocol

More info and registration here


The EU is a Party to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation. The EU ABS Regulation, which transposes into the EU legal order the compliance pillar of the Protocol, became applicable as of 12 October 2014. The principal obligations of the Regulation – i.e. Article 4 on due diligence, Article 7 on monitoring user compliance and Article 9 on checks on user compliance – will become applicable as of 12 October 2015. In this context it is important that those who utilise genetic resources (i.e. conduct research and development on the genetic and/or biological composition of genetic resources, including through the application of biotechnology) are aware of the obligations arising from the Regulation, and that they can take the necessary measures to ensure their activities are compliant.

Workshop presentation

The workshop aims at providing the participants with knowledge about their obligations under the EU ABS Regulation and what they practically imply for their everyday work. In the first part of the workshop, the new legal framework will be explained, providing insight into the main provisions of the EU ABS Regulation. In the second part of the workshop, participants will have a chance to put the knowledge gained into practice through interactive case studies, based on real-life examples and realistic scenarios. The workshop should allow participants to better understand their obligations under the EU law, and to establish which steps they need to follow and which practical measures they should take when dealing with genetic resources originating from Parties to the Nagoya Protocol.

Target group

The workshop is targeted at senior academics and experienced researchers conducting research and development on genetic resources who have an interest in gaining an essential understanding of the new legal framework in the EU, in view of the ABS Regulation becoming fully operational later this year.

Scientists with an expertise in the ABS regulation are not targeted by this basic training workshop