www.synbio.org.uk

Synthetic Biology Resources at Cambridge

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.

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Recent News

IMAGE A Mitochondrial DNA Transplant Could Help Treat Hundreds Of Diseases
Thursday, 08 January 2015
For the first time ever, researchers in New Zealand have shown that mitochondrial DNA can move between cells in an animal tumor. It's an extraordinary finding that could lead to an entirely new field of synthetic biology and the treatment of hundreds of diseases. Read more... Read More...
IMAGE Impossibly imaginative food landscapes. Warning: don't look if hungry.
Thursday, 08 January 2015
" 'Processed Views,' a photography series by Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman.   From the artists:   Processed Views interprets the frontier of industrial food production: the seductive and alarming intersection of nature and technology. As we move further away from the sources of our food, we... Read More...
IMAGE This tiny button could solve the IoT’s big headache
Thursday, 08 January 2015
Controlling your digital life from your smartphone, or even by voice, is great, but there are times when it'd be a whole lot more convenient to reach out and stab a physical button. That's the idea behind Flic, crowdfunding success from late last year, and here at CES to show off what you can do... Read More...
IMAGE Intel’s “Compute Stick” is a full Windows or Linux PC in an HDMI dongle
Thursday, 08 January 2015
Andrew Cunningham The Intel Compute Stick is a full PC in an HDMI dongle. 3 more images in gallery // LAS VEGAS, NEVADA—Set-top boxes and streaming sticks are decent, cost-effective ways to turn the TV you already have into a 'smart TV,' but Intel has an intriguing new option for those of you... Read More...
IMAGE A microbe found in a grassy field appears to contain a remarkably powerful antibiotic.
Thursday, 08 January 2015
A microbe found in a grassy field appears to contain a remarkably powerful antibiotic. Called teixobactin, it kills dangerous pathogens without any observable resistance (at least not yet). Moreover, it destroys many types of drug-resistant bacteria and it's safe in mammals. Its use may be limited,... Read More...
IMAGE To Save Our Ecosystems, Will We Have to Design Synthetic Creatures?
Wednesday, 07 January 2015
To Save Our Ecosystems, Will We Have to Design Synthetic Creatures?BY LIZ STINSON   Imagine someday in the distant future, years after the ‘sixth extinction’ went from theory to undeniable reality. Our ecosystems are failing, our biodiversity is dropping like flies (at least the ones that... Read More...
Synthetic Biology Market worth $5,630.4 Million by 2018 - Major Market Players - Amyris, Inc. (U.S.), DuPont (U.S.), GenScript USA Inc. (U.S.), Intrexon Corporation (U.S.) - WhaTech
Wednesday, 07 January 2015
Synthetic Biology Market worth $5,630.4 Million by 2018 - Major Market Players - Amyris, Inc. (U.S.), DuPont (U.S.), GenScript USA Inc. (U.S.), Intrexon Corporation (U.S.) WhaTech Channel: Industrial Market Research Reports The global synthetic biology market is segmented on the basis of tools,... Read More...
IMAGE 3 Tech Giants Quietly Investing in Synthetic Biology (ADSK, INTC, MSFT)
Wednesday, 07 January 2015
3 Tech Giants Quietly Investing in Synthetic Biology By Maxx Chatsko | More Articles January 7, 2015 | Comments (0) The introduction and widespread adoption of fun new gadgets, games, and services in the last 15 years has provided billions of dollars of revenues and profits to the technology... Read More...

Featured News

This tiny button could solve the IoT’s big headache
Thursday, 08 January 2015
Controlling your digital life from your smartphone, or even by voice, is great, but there are times when it'd be a whole lot more convenient to reach out and stab a physical button. That's the idea behind Flic, crowdfunding success from late last year, and here at CES to show off what you can do with a tiny stick-on button, … Continue reading" 
Intel’s “Compute Stick” is a full Windows or Linux PC in an HDMI dongle
Thursday, 08 January 2015
Andrew Cunningham The Intel Compute Stick is a full PC in an HDMI dongle. 3 more images in gallery // LAS VEGAS, NEVADA—Set-top boxes and streaming sticks are decent, cost-effective ways to turn the TV you already have into a 'smart TV,' but Intel has an intriguing new option for those of you who want something a little more versatile. The Intel Compute Stick is a full Bay Trail PC complete... Read More...
Controlling a Flip-Disc Display Using Android
Thursday, 01 January 2015
There’s just something about electro-mechanical displays that enthralls most people when they see them; and while you’ll be hard pressed to find a split-flap display for cheap, you can still easily buy flip-disc displays! That’s what [Scott] did, and he’s been having a blast messing around with his and building a system to control it via his Android phone. He picked up the display from a... Read More...

Bio-Fab Ready to Distribute Building Blocks of Synthetic Life

 

Bio-Fab Ready to Distribute Building Blocks of Synthetic Life

May 2nd, 2010 by Christopher de la Torre

 

The first biological design-build facility in the world announced that it will soon be able to synthesize chemicals, fuels and new drugs by manipulating the elements necessary to make microbes. Initiated by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the facility’s product—standardized biological parts made from genetic material—will be made available to both academic and commercial users, shortening development time and lowering research costs in the process.

In its first human practices draft-for-comment report, The BioFab: International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology (BIOFAB) asked the core question of “what is a part?” in biology. The report explores the complexity, boundaries and evolution of biological engineering, and seeks to determine what standardization might mean for the industry.

One of BioFab’s projects—and they all seem quite ambitious—aims to build thousands of biological parts needed to control genetic expression in a select number of organisms. This collection—known as “C. dog.”—will make it possible to manipulate DNA/RNA/Protein synthesis in E. coli (a bacterium) and S. cerevisiae (a budding yeast). The product, to be used to aid researchers, will be released under the terms of a legal framework that enables the free exchange and use of standard biological parts.

Founded at the end of 2009 by bioengineering assistant professor Drew Endy and UC Berkeley’s Adam Arkin, The professionally staffed public-benefit facility represents “the first significant focused investment in the development of open technology platforms underlying and supporting the next generation of biotechnology” (BioFab.org). And with generous funding from the NSF and other prominent organizations, the operation will eventually be able to shell out tens of thousands of standard biological parts each year. While such a program reeks of ethical concerns, head of BioFab’s human practices Gaymon Bennett promises that ethical issues, including safety and security, will be addressed by creating resources that will help researchers make tough decisions. The effort will also create a new legal framework in support of its burgeoning technologies.

BioFab Directors Drew Endy (left) and Adam Arkin

Synthesizing biological parts from genes may have far-reaching ethical implications, but we can’t say it’s altogether a new idea. Designer babies have long been a part of public debate, and recent advancements like MIT’s registry of standard biological parts have paved the way for initiatives like BioFab. But there’s a big difference between making biological parts and figuring out how those parts will work together.

Creating functioning interchangeable biological parts is at the heart of BioFab’s mission. Taking modern synthetic biology’s mantra that a system is an integrated set of components one step further, BioFab will attempt to define, in context, what a component is, building on the assumption that standardized ‘parts’ don’t yet exist, and that such parts are made, not discovered.

It was clear from early on in biology’s synthetic saga that DNA’s unpredictable methods of assembly would make standardization a challenge, but several years into the new millennium a proposal was made as to how restriction enzymes could isolate DNA “BioBricks” that could effectively “mix and match” with one another using complimentary strands of overhanging base pairs. While this provided a solution to putting engineered DNA components together, it couldn’t solve how to get them to work together in predictable ways. It turns out that sans context, standardized biological parts are little more than words of an indecipherable language.

Quantifying and categorizing genetic structures—both upon which genome sequencing is based—are not in themselves new goals. The present conundrum lies not in the ability to break things down into workable units, but rather in how to reverse the process and create anew using those units. Such is the driving force behind bioengineering, and now BioFab.

[Image credit: BIOFAB, Margot Hartford]
[Source: BIOFABStanford School of Medicine]

From: http://singularityhub.com/2010/05/02/bio-fab-ready-to-distribute-building-blocks-of-synthetic-life/

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 http://www.eusynbios.org/students-and-postdocs/join 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.