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Conference Program
 
Synthetic Biology
(Re-)constructing and Re-programming Life
June 9-14, 2013
Mount Snow Resort
West Dover, VT

"Synthetic biology" is an emerging field that is very rapidly gaining currency within the scientific community and society at large. Although in itself not an entirely new concept and having been referred in literature for the first time as early as 1912, the advancements in molecular biology, high-throughput "omics" analysis and on computer and engineering sciences, only now begin to enable a serious, systematic approach to the development and forward engineering of biological circuits and cellular capabilities that may be ultimately translated into processes or products. The core of this concept is that, by drawing on knowledge developed in biology, chemistry, robotics and adapting engineering design and production principles stemming from Information Technologies, it is possible now to set off the creation of artificial (i.e. "synthetic") and hybrid systems using biological engineering design principles with unprecedented power and efficiency.

The pursuit of synthetic biology is both the design and fabrication of biological components and systems that do not exist in the natural world as well as the re-design and fabrication of already existing biological systems. Eventually, it is envisioned to build up from scratch - bottom-up approaches - cellular components, compartments and even cells to create living devices and use them either as molecular-scale factories, to detect chemical weapons, clean up pollutants, make simple computations, diagnose disease, deliver vaccines, produce water for water or sunlight, or to create new, hybrid materials. Other on-going efforts - top-down approaches - with ultimately the very same goals focus on simplifying and genetically reprogramming existing cells with simple genomes.

This vision has thus tremendous scientific, technological and economical impacts. However, regardless of a number of recent advances in this regard of the extraordinary possibilities, Synthetic Biology is as yet in its infancy, with knowledge being is highly scattered and scarce, and facing many serious scientific, technological and societal challenges ahead.

This conference provides an in-depth discussion forum among practitioners of the various fields underlying Synthetic Biology. It aims to pin-point the challenges, realistically assess the potential and pitfalls and to lay the basis for future developments and consolidation of the field towards fulfilling the envisaged - and ambitious - goals. Because of the lack of a common language among the scientists from the many different fields involved, longer meetings with large blocks of time dedicated to discussions, rather than series of presentations held at 'traditional' conferences, are favored for establishing such a forum. In addition to bringing together a collection of investigators who are at the forefront of their field, this conference offers excellent opportunities for junior scientists and graduate students to present their work in poster format and exchange ideas with leaders in the field. The collegial atmosphere, with programmed discussion sessions as well as opportunities for informal gatherings in the afternoons and evenings, provides an avenue for scientists from different disciplines to brainstorm and promotes cross-disciplinary collaborations in the various research areas represented.


Contributors

SUNDAY
2:00 pm - 9:00 pmArrival and Check-in
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 7:40 pmWelcome / Introductory Comments by GRC Site Staff
7:40 pm - 9:30 pmLiving vs non-living matter
Discussion Leader: Drew Endy (Stanford University, US)
7:40 pm - 8:20 pm Steen Rasmussen (University of Southern Denmark, DK)
"Reconstructing the Emergence of Cellular Life through the Synthesis of Model Protocells"
8:20 pm - 8:35 pm Discussion
8:35 pm - 9:15 pm George Church (Harvard, US)
"High-throughput genome (re-)design: Read, Write, Go"
9:15 pm - 9:30 pm Discussion
MONDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmBuilding Genomes
Discussion Leader: Eva-Kathrin Sinner (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, AT)
9:00 am - 9:40 am Clyde Hutchison (J Craig Venter Institute, US)
"Building a minimal cell - the JCVI Design-Build-Test cycle for synthetic cells"
9:40 am - 10:00 am Discussion
10:00 am Group Photo / Coffee Break
10:30 am - 11:10 am Feng Zhang (Broad Institute, US)
"Multiplex genome engineering using CRISPR/Cas systems"
11:10 am - 11:30 am Discussion
11:30 am - 12:10 pm Farren Isaacs (Yale University, US)
"Multiplexing Genome Construction and Engineering Riboregulation"
12:10 pm - 12:30 pm Discussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmAlternative Life
Discussion Leader: Ben Davis (Oxford University, UK)
7:30 pm - 8:10 pm Nediljko Budisa (Technical University Berlin, Germany)
"In vivo incorporation of non-canonical amino acids into proteins for the generation of synthetic circuits"
8:10 pm - 8:30 pm Discussion
8:30 pm - 9:10 pm Phillipe Marliere (Isthmus, SA, Paris, FR)
"Xenobiotic Life"
9:10 pm - 9:30 pm Discussion
TUESDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmEnabling technologies
Discussion Leader: Richard Kitney (Imperial College London, UK)
9:00 am - 9:40 am Victor de Lorenzo (CSIC, Madrid, ES)
"SEVA: A Standard Vector Architecture to re-design circuits and re-programme microbial chassis"
9:40 am - 10:00 am Discussion
10:00 am Coffee Break
10:30 am - 11:10 am Timothy Lu (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US)
"Synthetic circuits integrating logic and memory in living cells"
11:10 am - 11:30 am Discussion
11:30 am - 12:10 pm Sven Panke (ETH Zurich, CH)
"Designing biosystems of reduced complexity"
12:10 pm - 12:30 pm Discussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmStreamlining and re-engineering genomes
Discussion Leader: June Medford (Colorado State University, US)
7:30 pm - 8:10 pm Gyorgy Posfai (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, HU)
"Systematic Genome Reduction of the E. coli genome"
8:10 pm - 8:30 pm Discussion
8:30 pm - 9:10 pm Philippe Noirot (INRA, FR)
"Model-driven minimization of the Bacillus subtilis genome"
9:10 pm - 9:30 pm Discussion
WEDNESDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmApplications of Synthetic Biology: non-medical
Discussion Leader: Ryan Gil (University of Colorado, US)
9:00 am - 9:40 am Pamela Silver (Harvard University, US)
"Designing systems for food, fuel and the environment"
9:40 am - 10:00 am Discussion
10:00 am Coffee Break
10:30 am - 11:10 am Christina Smolke (Stanford University, US)
"Advancing microbial biosynthesis through synthetic biology platforms"
11:10 am - 11:30 am Discussion
11:30 am - 12:10 pm Danielle Tullman-Ercek (University of California at Berkeley, US)
"Making and breaking sequestration in microbes: applications in biofuels, biomaterials, and living batteries"
12:10 pm - 12:30 pm Discussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:00 pm - 7:30 pmBusiness Meeting
Nominations for the next Vice Chair; Fill out Conference Evaluation Forms; Discuss future Site & Scheduling preferences; Election of the next Vice Chair
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmCircuit Design
Discussion Leader: Douglas Densmore (Boston University, US)
7:30 pm - 8:10 pm Jeff Hasty (University of California at San Diego, US)
"Stochasticity and Circuit Design"
8:10 pm - 8:30 pm Discussion
8:30 pm - 9:10 pm Domitilla Del Vecchio (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US)
"Retroactivity and Insulation in Gene Circuits"
9:10 pm - 9:30 pm Discussion
THURSDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmApplications of Synthetic Biology: medical
Discussion Leader: Roman Jerala (Slovenian Institute of Chemistry, SI)
9:00 am - 9:35 am Ron Weiss (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US)
"Re-programming Stem Cells"
9:35 am - 9:50 am Discussion
9:50 am Coffee Break
10:20 am - 10:55 am Kobi Benenson (ETH Zurich, CH)
"Multi-input RNAi-based logic circuit for identification of specific cancer cells"
10:55 am - 11:10 am Discussion
11:10 am - 11:45 am Wilfried Weber (University of Freiburg, DE)
"New biomedical materials and optogenetics"
11:45 am - 12:00 pm Discussion
12:00 pm - 12:30 pm Panel Discussion with Government Agencies
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmWhere do (can) we go with Synthetic Biology?
Discussion Leader: Jeff Tabor (Rice University, US)
7:30 pm - 8:10 pm Michael Fischbach (University of California at San Francisco, US)
"A gene-to-molecule approach to the discovery and characterization of natural products"
8:10 pm - 8:30 pm Discussion
8:30 pm - 9:10 pm Adam Arkin (University of California at Berkeley, US)
"The Brave New World of Synthetic Biology"
9:10 pm - 9:30 pm Discussion
FRIDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 amDeparture

 
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