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3rd International IET/SynbiCITE Engineering Biology Conference 2017

Synthetic biology driving industrial translation in the bioeconomy

12 – 13 December 2017 | IET London: Savoy Place

IET London: Savoy Place (logo) Continuous Professional Development CPD (logo)



Richard Kitney Richard Ian Kitney OBE, FREng, DSc (Eng), FCGI (Co-Chair and speaker)

Principal Investigator & Co-Director of SynbiCITE and the Synthetic Biology Hub, Imperial College, UK

Kitney is Professor of Biomedical Systems Engineering; Chairman of the Institute of Systems and Synthetic Biology; and Co-Director of the EPSRC National Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation. He was Founding Head of the Department of Bioengineering and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. He Chaired The Royal Academy of Engineering Inquiry into Synthetic Biology.

Kitney is recognised as a leading research worker in the field of synthetic biology and has been responsible for co-developing the Imperial College Hub for Synthetic Biology and establish the UK national industrial translation centre for synthetic biology – SynbiCITE.

Paul Freemont Prof Paul Freemont

Co-Director of SynbiCITE and the Synthetic Biology Hub, Imperial College, UK

Professor Freemont is Head of the new Section of Structural Biology in the Department of Medicine at Imperial College. He is also co-founder and co-director of the EPSRC Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation and the National UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre for Synthetic Biology at Imperial College London.

His interdisciplinary research has lead to the identification and naming of the RING finger domain found in many disease-linked human proteins and is associated with the global regulation of protein degradation.

His more recent research interests in the field of synthetic biology have focused on developing foundational technologies and the development of biosensors for healthcare applications.

Keynote speaker

Jason Kelly Dr Jason Kelly

Co-Founder, CEO, Ginkgo BioWorks

Jason Kelly co-founded Ginkgo BioWorks in 2008. The organism is the product at Ginkgo BioWorks. Ginkgo's organism engineers design microbes made-to-order for customers across a range of industries by leveraging a technology platform including custom hardware, software, and wetware.

Jason earned his PhD from MIT in Biological Engineering in 2008, under professor Drew Endy, and his BS in Chemical Engineering and Biology in 2003.

His doctoral research included the development of a widely adopted measurement standard for characterizing transcriptional elements.

Christina Smolke (photo) Christina Smolke

Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering, Stanford University.

Professor Smolke's research program focuses on developing modular genetic platforms for programming information processing and control functions in living systems, resulting in transformative technologies for engineering, manipulating, and probing biological systems.

She has pioneered the design and application of a broad class of RNA molecules, called RNA devices, which process and transmit user-specified input signals to targeted protein outputs, thereby linking molecular computation to gene expression.

This technology has been extended to efficiently construct multi-input devices exhibiting various higher-order information processing functions, demonstrating combinatorial assembly of many information processing, transduction, and control devices from a smaller number of components.

Her laboratory is applying these technologies to addressing key challenges in cellular therapeutics, targeted molecular therapies, and green biosynthesis strategies.

William B. Bonvillian (photo) William B. Bonvillian

Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

William B. Bonvillian is a Lecturer at MIT in the Science Technology and Society and Political Science Departments, and advises on research projects at MIT's Industrial Performance Center. In addition to teaching at MIT, he is on the adjunct faculty at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins SAIS, and has taught courses in science and technology policy at Georgetown, Hopkins, MIT and George Washington.

Prior to this position, from 2006-17, he was Director of the MIT’s Washington, D.C. Office, reporting to MIT’s President. In this position he worked to support MIT’s strong and historic relations with federal R&D agencies, and its role on national science policy.

He has assisted with major MIT technology policy initiatives, on energy technology, the “convergence” of life, engineering and physical sciences, advanced manufacturing, online higher education and its "innovation orchard" project on startup scale-up.

Prior to that position, he served for seventeen years as a senior policy advisor in the U.S. Senate. Prior to his work on the Senate, he was a partner at a large national law firm. Early in his career, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation.


Matthew Chang Wook (photo) Dr Matthew Chang Wook

Associate Professor in Biochemistry , NUS, Singapore.

Matthew Chang heads the NUS Synthetic Biology for Clinical and Technological Innovation (SynCTI), a highly interdisciplinary research core that amalgamates researchers from multiple disciplinary fields including engineering, science and medicine.

He is Director of the Singapore Consortium for Synthetic Biology (SINERGY). His research focuses on studying engineering biology, and developing a pioneering approach in reprogramming cells for clinical and industrial applications.

He has pioneered the development of microbial cells programmed to perform targeted therapeutic functionalities. His scientific contributions have been recognised with international honours and awards.

Anne S. Meyer (photo) Anne S. Meyer

Assistant Professor, Delft University of Technology.

Dr. Anne S. Meyer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bionanoscience at TU Delft in The Netherlands. Dr. Meyer received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Stanford University (USA) in 2005. Before joining TU Delft, she was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA).

She has run the TU Delft iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) team for five years, and her team won the Grand Prize in 2015. Her research focuses on using quantitative techniques in the fields of biophysics, biochemistry, and microbiology to study structural dynamics, macromolecular interactions, and physiological responses of organisms to environmental stressors.

She also uses tools of synthetic biology to engineer novel functions into microorganisms, with a particular focus on the production of improved biomaterials and the development of new pathways for inducing transcriptional responses.

Dr Paul James (photo) Dr Paul James

Research Fellow, University of Exeter

Paul is currently a Research Fellow under the supervision of Professor John Love based in the Exeter Microbial Biofuel Group at the College of Life and Environmental Sciences. The group is currently using a synthetic biology approach to producing customisable petroleum replica fuel molecules.

Dr Elise Cachat Dr Elise Cachat

Lecturer in Biotechnology/Synthetic Biology, Edinburgh University, UK.

Elise Cachat is a Lecturer in Biotechnology/Synthetic Biology in Edinburgh University since 2016. Prior to that she held the position of Postdoctoral Research Fellow from 2009-2016 at University of Edinburgh, School of Biomedical Sciences.

Her research interests include Mammalian synthetic biology and synthetic morphology & patterning.

Karen M. Polizzi Dr Karen M. Polizzi

Senior Lecturer, Polizzi Lab, Imperial College, UK.

Karen is a senior lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London and a member of the multi-disciplinary Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation. Karen’s first degree was in biochemistry from the University of Maine and her PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering was from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Karen joined Imperial College in 2008 as an RCUK Fellow in Biopharmaceutical Processing.

Karen’s research focuses on using synthetic biology to develop biological manufacturing processes for therapeutic proteins and small molecules. Her lab also develops biological sensors for the online monitoring and control of biochemical processes.

Dr Chueh Loo Poh Dr Chueh Loo Poh

Assistant Professor, Division of Bioengineering, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

Dr. Chueh Loo Poh obtained his PhD in Bioengineering from Imperial College London and B.Eng. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from NTU Singapore. After completing his B.Eng., he joined Accenture Pte Ltd and specialised in Information Technology Consulting.

His research interests include biomedical informatics, information technology for healthcare and synthetic biology. His current research works focus on image processing related to MR and CT imaging, bio-inspired machine learning and computational tools for synthetic biology design.

Tim Fell (photo) Tim Fell

Chief Executive Officer, Synthace, UK

Tim is an experienced technology venture entrepreneur with an R&D background in both the physical and life sciences.

Before joining Synthace he spent 7 years as Chief Operating Officer of CellCentric, a leading epigenetics drug discovery company. Prior to that he was Chief Technology Officer of Arrow Therapeutics and was co-founder and General Manager of DNA microarray tools company Oxford Gene Technology (Operations).

Before entering the commercial world Tim spent 13 years performing highly interdisciplinary research at the University of Oxford holding post-doctoral positions in three different departments (Biochemistry, Engineering and Materials).

Christopher Reynolds (photo) Christopher Reynolds

Researcher, Centre for Synthetic Biology Imperial College

Christopher Reynolds PhD holds a doctorate in chemoinformatics from Imperial College London that was part-funded by Equinox Pharma and involved developing and maintaining the company's core technology. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences from the University of Bath and an MSc in Bioinformatics from the University of Sussex.

His research interests are in molecular design of drugs using chemoinformatics and structural bioinformatics tools.

Kealan Exley (photo) Kealan Exley

Researcher, Centre for Synthetic Biology Imperial College

Kealan has been working towards cell-free synthesis of biopharmaceuticals using a synthetic biology approach in collaboration with Dr. Karen Polizzi and Prof. Paul Freemont.

The aim of this project is to produce a cell-free protein synthesis system with the ability to produce properly glycosylated biopharmaceuticals. This project is using the principles of synthetic biology to produce a miminal genetic circuit leading to the synthesis and addition of sugar molecules to a model biopharmaceutical.

David McClymont (photo) David McClymont

Head of Automation, The London DNA Foundry, UK

David is a highly experienced automation specialist having started in High-Throughput screening and assay development for ion channel drug discovery at Xention in Cambridge after completing a PhD at the University of Nottingham.

After extensive exposure to automation and drug discovery process, he moved to the Chemical Biology Platform in Oslo, Norway to become Head Engineer. In this role he was responsible for assay development and also designed and built the Dotmatics database infrastructure. There he also developed a unique software and automation approach applying it to personalised medicine and HTS immunoocology projects.

Taking a step into Synthetic Biology, he is leading a team developing the high-throughput molecular biology techniques required for automated design-build-test for areas such as DNA assembly, metabolic pathway engineering and cell-free synthetic biology.

John Ward (photo) Professor John Ward

Synthetic Biology for Bioprocessing, UCL UK

Professor John Ward trained as a Biochemist and Molecular Microbiologist at the University of Bristol, UK. He moved to the University of Manchester in 1979 to work on Pseudomonas catabolic pathways and in 1983 joined the Department of Biochemistry at UCL (University College London) as a member of academic staff.

He developed pathway engineering and host cell engineering for enhancing biomolecule production in collaboration with the Biochemical Engineering Department. He was awarded one of the 7 UK Research Council funded Networks in Synthetic Biology in 2008 and brought together researchers who collaborated on opto-electronic filamentous bacteriophages and building alkaloid biosynthetic pathways in bacteria. In 2011 he helped to set up the first UK dedicated synthetic biology company Synthace.

In 2012 John moved to the Department of Biochemical Engineering at UCL where he is expanding work on the synthetic biology of alkaloid pathway design, chassis engineering, building and developing filamentous phage systems as structural frameworks for nanodevice construction and metagenomics for accessing novel enzymes from disparate environments.

James Scott-Brown (photo) James Scott-Brown

Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford

James is currently a D.Phil student on the EPSRC/BBSRC Synthetic Biology Doctoral Training Centre, supervised by Prof. Antonis Papachristodoulou and Dr. Thomas Prescott (Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford).

He is investigating what can be achieved using communication between cells.

Dr Geoff Smith (photo) Dr Geoff Smith

Head of Innovations, Touchlight Genetics

Geoff is a leader in genomics technologies and applications. He spent more than 10 years working at Solexa/Illumina, where he led the invention of many aspects of the core SBS sequencing chemistry, workflows and platforms, becoming Vice President leading Technology Development globally and clinical product development for cell-free DNA testing in pregnancy (NIPT).

After leaving Illumina, Geoff was CEO of Cambridge Epigenetix, a spin-out from Cambridge University, and now works closely with a number of biotech companies in the genomics space.

Geoff has a first degree and PhD from Cambridge University before going onto postdoctoral research in mouse immunology at HHMI UT Southwestern, and phage display methodology at the MRC Centre for Protein Engineering in Cambridge UK. He has published widely, and particularly enjoys collaborating to bring together leading scientists with great technology.

Dr. Jennifer Hallinan (photo) Dr. Jennifer Hallinan

Researcher, School of Computing Science, Newcastle University.

Dr. Jennifer Hallinan is a researcher in the School of Computing Science at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. She has a background in both molecular biology and computing science, and is interested in the interface between the two.

She is particularly interested in the use of computational intelligence techniques to design synthetic genetic circuits. Research Interests include, Systems and synthetic biology, Computational intelligence and machine learning and Molecular biology of Bacillus subtilis.

Ian Shott (photo) Ian Shott

Managing Partner, Shott Trinova LLP

A seasoned leader and transformer of global international businesses, start-ups and medium-sized enterprises, Ian founded Shott Trinova in 2012 which focuses on supporting, and investing in, organisations in the Life Sciences industry.

Prior to this, he founded and was CEO of Excelsyn, a Pharmaceutical development and manufacturing services company which he sold to AMRI in February 2010.

He has held many senior executive business leadership positions over the last thirty years, working for multinational chemical and life science companies including ICI, AstraZeneca, Alusuisse-Lonza, Chirex and Rhodia; and has been located in the UK, France and Switzerland with extended periods in the USA and Australia. His professional specialisations include corporate investment, M&A, strategic planning, technology development and manufacturing.

Vitor Martins dos Santos (photo)  Vítor Martins dos Santos

Chair for Systems and Synthetic Biology, Wageningen University, Netherlands.

Vítor Martins dos Santos holds the Chair for Systems and Synthetic Biology at the Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and is both the Director of the Wageningen Centre for Systems Biology and President of the Dutch Society of Biotechnology. He received a doctorate in environmental bioprocess engineering at Wageningen University.

He did a post-doc in the Department of Molecular Biology of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) in Granada, Spain, and moved subsequently to the German National Centre for Biotechnology where he built the Systems and Synthetic Biology research group.

He has coordinated and participated in numerous national and international projects related to systems and synthetic biology, has been involved in advising science and governance policies, as well as carried out extensive research in the field. A major thrust of his research is the streamlining of microbial chassis and computer-assisted re-programming of cellular behaviour for medical, industrial and environmental applications.

Olivier Borkowski (photo) Dr Olivier Borkowski

Research Associate, Imperial College London.

Dr Olivier Borkowski is a research associate in the Ellis Lab. His research focuses on the interactions between cell physiology and protein production in synthetic biology.

He developed a method coupling Cell-free and modelling to predict Host-Circuit interactions in Bacteria.

Dr Paul Race (photo) Dr Paul Race

Founder and Scientific Advisor, Zentraxa
Co-Director of BrisSynBio

Dr Paul Race is the Founder and Scientific Advisor, Zentraxa and the Co-Director of BrisSynBio, the £16M centre for synthetic biology at the University of Bristol.

He is the Senior Biochemistry Lecturer and group leader with over £2M of grant funding and multiple high-impact publications. His particular expertise is in enzyme catalysis.

Dr Guy-Bart Stan (photo) Dr Guy-Bart Stan

Reader in Engineering Design for Synthetic Biology, Imperial College, UK.

Dr Guy-Bart Stan is the Head of the Control Engineering Synthetic Biology group exploring mathematical aspects of modelling, analysis, design and robust optimal control of biological systems and their applications in synthetic biology.

Dr Stan is the recipient of the very prestigious UK EPSRC Fellowship for Growth in Synthetic Biology, directly supporting his research from Jan 2015 until Dec 2019.

Louise Horsfall (photo) Louise Horsfall

Lecturer in Biotechnology, University of Edinburgh.

Louise Horsfall, a Lecturer in Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh, is interested in multidisciplinary challenges involving Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology.

She is the recipient of the University of Edinburgh’s 2015 Chancellor’s Rising Star Award, the elected co-chair of the Bioengineering and Bioprocessing Section of the European Federation of Biotechnology and a member of the EPSRC's Early Career Forum in Manufacturing Research.

Louise holds a MChem from the University of Oxford, a DEA and a PhD in Biochemistry from the Université de Liège, Belgium. She worked as a research associate at the University of Leeds and the University of Glasgow before joining Edinburgh in May 2012.

Dr. Ing. Ángel Goñi Moreno (photo) Dr. Ing. Ángel Goñi Moreno

School of Computing Science, Newcastle University

Ángel Goñi Moreno is a Lecturer in Synthetic Biology at Newcastle University. He is the Academic/PI of the Interdisciplinary Computing and Complex Biosystems (ICOS) research group, and member of the Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy.

In 2010 he earned a European Ph.D. in Computer Engineering (in the field of Bacterial Computing). He also held a M. Sc. degree in Artificial Intelligence (UPM). He then joined the Novel Computation Group of the School of Computing, Mathematics and Digital Technology at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) as a post-doc.

Dr Geertje Van Keulen (photo) Dr Geertje Van Keulen

Associate Professor, Swansea University Medical School

Geertje is an Associate Professor in the Institute of Life Science in the Medical School.

Her research focuses on the microbiology of natural antibiosis and resistance to antibiotics and metals, microbial adaptation to drought and bioengineering of water repellency of manmade and natural materials.

Her research team works in highly interdisciplinary collaborative projects with soil scientists, materials engineers, hydrologists, nanotechnologists and modellers funded by NERC, EPSRC and the Royal Society.

Ash Toye (photo) Ash Toye

Reader in Cell Biology, Bristol University

Ash is a Reader in Cell Biology at the University of Bristol and his research focuses on red blood cell development in health and disease.

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