Cambridge website for Synthetic Biology resources

Compiled by Jim Haseloff at the University of Cambridge. SpannerPlantLogo140This site contains details of recent papers and activity in Synthetic Biology, with particular emphasis on: (i) development of standards in biology and DNA parts, (ii) microbial and (iii) plant systems, (iv) research and teaching in the field at the University of Cambridge, (v) hardware for scientific computing and instrumentation, (vi) tools for scientific productivity and collected miscellany.

Similar to the Cambridge-based Raspberry Pi and OpenLabTools initiatives, we promote the use of low cost and open source tools - in our case for use in biological engineering.

Google: Synthetic Biology news

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RNAi patent jolt


RNAi patent jolt
Charlie Schmidt - Nature Biotechnology

The US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent for detection of RNA-mediated gene silencing to Sir David Baulcombe, University of Cambridge, and Andrew Hamilton, University of Glasgow, over a decade after their gene silencing findings in plants were first reported (Science 2869509521999). “The new patent has implications beyond plants,” says Jan Chojecki, CEO of Plant Bioscience Limited (PBL), of Norwich, the tech transfer company that owns the patents. “Anyone in the US profiling short RNAs and their impact on gene expression in mammalian systems is likely to be interested. We think it will create quite a stir.” The new patent recognizes Baulcombe and Hamilton's discovery that when genes are silenced complementary RNA strands of 20–30 bp accumulate—a finding that also proved critical to establishing short RNAs as a tool to manipulate gene expression. The initial patent for this technology, issued in 2004, was limited to plants, but the new patent broadens out to mammals. PBL expects to grant licenses to industry but will not enforce rights in academia, provided researchers use licensed detection kits. James McNamara, who directs the Office of Technology Management, University of Massachusetts Medical School, points out that Craig Mello and Andrew Fire, now at Stanford University, developed comparable RNA detection methods. “But if a company practices methods that might infringe on Baulcombe and Hamilton, they might take a license on it for reasonable terms,” he says.



Research news at Cambridge University

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European Association of Students & Postdocs in Synthetic Biology (EUSynBioS)

EUSynBioSprelimLogo240The European Association of Students & Postdocs in Synthetic Biology (EUSynBioS) invites you to join its pre-launch community. The EUSynBioS initiative seeks to shape and foster a network of young researchers active the nascent scientific discipline of synthetic biology within the European Union by means of providing an integrative central resource for interaction and professional development.

Key objectives of EUSynBioS include i) the implementation of a central web platform for sharing news and opportunities relevant to members of the community as well as for academic networking, ii) the arrangement and support of events for academic exchange and professional development, iii) liaison with representatives of industry, and iv) establishment of a primary contact for collaboration and exchange with related communities of synthetic biology students and postdocs abroad.

Registering as a member is free and can be completed within 30 seconds via the following link Students and postdocs who register as a EUSynBioS member will be able to:
o Access a large network of young researchers in synthetic biology for academic collaboration and exchange
o Share technical resources and teaching materials
o Stay informed about relevant events such as conferences, workshops, or social outings o Browse relevant jobs in academia and industry
o Use site visits and mentoring opportunities to interact with prospective employers
o Connect with members of related communities all over the world

By registering as a member prior to the official launch of EUSynBioS, you will not only make a statement of support which will have an impact on the resources available to the community in the future; you will also be given the chance to actively shape EUSynBioS right from the start, and have an edge when applying for a position on the Steering Committee. We are looking forward to your joining us ! Christian Boehm, University of Cambridge.