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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DIYbio NYC on the BioBus

DIYbio NYC on the BioBus: "


This past weekend, the World Maker Faire in NYC had a wide range of makers showcasing a variety of projects and skills. Front and center was the New York chapter of DIYbio, a scientific outreach group of local citizen scientists, and the BioBus, a mobile microscopy lab built on a 1972 transit bus. For the event, DIYbio and the BioBus teamed up to build NYC's first-ever fully mobile molecular biology lab.

The bus was a flurry of activity from both parties, inside and out. The simpler and faster activities on the outside included 'making' DNA from strawberries using only household reagents (salt, soap, meat tenderizer, and alcohol) as well as visualizing small planktonic crustaceans, called Daphnia, through one of the BioBus's microscopes with a flat panel display.

Inside the bus, things got a little more intimate. Instead of extracting DNA from berries and visualizing crustaceans, participants got to work with cells from their very own cheeks. They could see them up close and personal with a BioBus scope as well as extract and test their own DNA for a gene responsible for tasting a bitter chemical called PTC. Because molecular biology work takes a bit longer than anyone wanted to stick around, with all the other awesome things happening at the Faire, the DIYbio crew finished analyzing the samples and later emailed participants with the results. After exhausting their reagents, the group was able to teach three dozen people how to test their own samples as well as the hundreds that were extracting DNA outside. DIYbio and the BioBus even won a MAKE magazine Editors' Choice award for their efforts!

This same group, brought together through DIYbio, created GenSpace - a member-based lab in Brooklyn, NY. Each member has pet interests they pursue in the space while collectively working on scientific outreach and education projects that benefit the group (such as DIY DNA extractions at farmers markets and Maker Faire). 

In attendance at Maker Faire was the entire GenSpace crew:

 Russell Durrett, Team Leader for 2010 NYU iGEM Team (and research assistant in the Piano Lab @ NYU in a more professional capacity)
, Ellen Jorgensen, PhD - Adjunct Faculty at New York Medical College, 
Daniel Grushkin - Independent journalist for such editorials as National Geographic and The Scientist, 
Nurit Bar-Shai, and Sung won Lim.

For more info, check out the DIYbio NYC Blog and the GenSpace website.

Bio: Eri Gentry is a biotech entrepreneur, citizen science community organizer, and the co-founder of BioCurious, the first hackerspace for biotech, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

(Via MAKE Magazine.)

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.