Gordon Research Conferences
Meeting Details

Synthetic Biology
Gordon Research Conference

Biology by Design


July 30 - August 4, 2017


Stoweflake Conference Center
Stowe, VT Site Information


Farren Isaacs

Vice Chair:
Vitor B. Pinheiro

Application Deadline

Applications for this meeting must be submitted by July 2, 2017. Please apply early, as some meetings become oversubscribed (full) before this deadline. If the meeting is oversubscribed, it will be stated here. Note: Applications for oversubscribed meetings will only be considered by the Conference Chair if more seats become available due to cancellations.

Meeting Description

The field of synthetic biology remains an emerging discipline that is beginning to impact diverse fields of basic and applied science. In brief, synthetic biology seeks to (i) design and construct biological components and systems that do not exist in nature and (ii) re-design and build existing biological systems. Such approaches to engineering biological systems use unnatural molecules to expand the chemistry and function of life as well as re-assemble natural components into artificial systems with programmable behaviors. Inspired by these goals, the field has driven dramatic innovations in genomic and biomolecular technologies and the enablement of sophisticated programming of microbial and eukaryotic species and communities. This meeting will provide reports of unpublished data on the latest enabling technologies, advances in environmental and mammalian applications, the engineering of undomesticated species and communities, sophisticated re-design of multi-scale systems at the gene, network and whole-genome level, and the growth of synthetic biology in industry.

Reflective of the interdisciplinary field of synthetic biology, this meeting will resemble an "artists' colony" bringing together scientists from biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and engineering to interact in a stimulating and relaxed environment. In this informal atmosphere, scientists at all stages – graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and established investigators – will have the opportunity to engage in spirited conversation over meals, during session discussions, throughout afternoon activities and into the evening after each session.

For the first time the conference will incorporate a Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) with the goal of facilitating participation by scientists at the graduate student and postdoctoral levels. The GRS is planned by and for trainees to provide an interactive and supportive environment for junior researchers to present seminars and posters. Participation at the GRS will also provide opportunities for select junior scientists to present at the associated GRC.

Funding Notice: The GRS and GRC have special funding available to encourage participation from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups. Applicants who would like to give an oral presentation should note whether they would like to be considered for this funding.

Related Meeting

This GRC will be held in conjunction with the "Synthetic Biology" Gordon Research Seminar (GRS). Those interested in attending both meetings must submit an application for the GRS in addition to an application for the GRC. Refer to the associated GRS program page for more information.


Preliminary Program

The topics and speakers for the conference sessions are displayed below (italics denote discussion leaders). The Conference Chair is currently developing their detailed program, which will include the complete meeting schedule, as well as the talk titles for all speakers. The detailed program will be available by March 30, 2017. Please check back for updates.

  • Mammalian Synthetic Biology
    (Andrew Ellington / Yvonne Chen / Jamie Davies)
  • Designing and Writing Genomes
    (Paul Freemont / Jeff Boeke)
  • Enabling Technologies
    (Michael Jewett / Frances Arnold)
  • Environmental Synthetic Biology
    (James Collins / Christopher Voigt / Michelle Chang)
  • Exotic Molecules and Materials
    (Philippe Marliere / Alanna Schepartz / Jason Chin)
  • Biological Design, Automation and Computation
    (Christopher Voigt / Sven Panke / Ahmad Khalil)
  • Biological Circuits
    (Farren Isaacs / James Collins)
  • Engineering Microbial Communities
    (Ahmad Khalil / Pamela Silver)
  • Industrial Applications of Synthetic Biology
    (Vitor Pinheiro / Nico Callewaert)
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