OpenPlant Forum 2017 Programme

Monday 24 July 2017

13:00 - 17:00     OpenPlant Fund Pitches

Interdisciplinary teams led by early career researchers from Cambridge and Norwich pitch their ideas for £5000 OpenPlant Fund projects to a panel of judges from academia, industry and NGOs. In this round, projects should generate a tangible outcome of relevance to synthetic biology or cell-free synthetic biology and all outcomes must be shared openly with the community.

17:00 - 18:30     Drinks Reception and Poster/Demo Session

An opportunity to peruse previous OpenPlant Fund projects and ongoing research with drinks and networking.

18:30 - 20:00     industry forum: Building a Sustainable global bioeconomy

Talks from a range of synthetic biology companies about their journeys to setting up impactful ventures and the opportunities and challenges they foresee in establishing a sustainable bioeconomy with emerging fast and frugal biotechnologies. Topics may include the role that synthetic biology and industry could play in furthering the sustainable development goals, additional challenges to achieving impact in emerging and resource-constrained markets and the role of open IP as a commercial strategy.

Wednesday 26 July 2017

08:30 - 09:00    ARRIVAL AND COFFEE

09:00 - 10:30    Advances in tools for algal synthetic biology

A synthetic biology approach to harness the regulatory potential of miRNAs in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Francisco Navarro, Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge

Using Synthetic Biology To Engineer Medicinal Algae
Payam Mehrshahi, Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge

Sue Kuhaudomlarp, John Innes Centre

10:30 - 11:00    COFFEE

11:00 - 12:30    Constructing a shareable toolkit for rapid plant model systems

Speakers and topics TBC


13:45 - 14:45    Metabolic engineering for novel chemicals and therapeutics

Noam Chayut, John Innes Centre

Catnip: the molecular and evolutionary origin of nepetalactone biosynthesis
Benjamin Lichman, John Innes Centre

Michael Stephenson, John Innes Centre

14:45 - 15:15    Reflections from participants

15:15 - 15:30  Closing remarks

15:00 - 16:00    COFFEE and networking


Thursday 27 July 2017

Working group on curriculum development and teaching resources for fast and frugal biotechnology.

Invitation only. If interested to join, please email


Tuesday 25 July 2017

08:30 - 09:00    Arrival and coffee

09:00 - 09:15    Welcome (Prof Jim Haseloff)

09:15 - 10:40   Cell-free expression systems for synthetic biology

Jim Swartz, Stanford
Keith Pardee, University of Toronto
Sebastian Maerkl, EPFL

11:00 - 11:30    Coffee

11:30 - 12:45   Programming cell-free systems and design for diagnostics

Simon More, Imperial College
James King and Tempest van Schaik, Science Practice

Poster Lightning Talks

12:45 - 14:00    Lunch and poster session

14:00 - 15:30Tools for fast and frugal bioengineering

Loop Assembly
Fernan Federici, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Improving the Plant Genome Engineering Toolbox
Nicola Patron, Earlham Institute

Developing an open access expression system to liberate transient expression of proteins in plants
Hadrien Peyret, John Innes Centre

Poster Lightning Talks

15:30 - 16:00Coffee

16:00 - 18:00   Fast, frugal and open biotechnology for development

speakers TBC

18:00 - 19:30    Drinks reception

19:30 - 21:00    Conference Dinner

21:00 - 22:00    Synthetic biology curricula of the future:
fostering creativity and interdisciplinarity

Jenni Rant, SAW Trust
Colette Matthewman, John Innes Centre

22:00 - 23:30    Bar


Confirmed Speakers



Howard Theatre
Downing College
Regent Street

Porters' Lodge Tel: 01223 334800
Fax: 01223 363852


Contact Us

Dr Jenny Molloy
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing Street

Tel: +44 (0)1223 766546 (ext 66546)


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