Thank you to our partners of the 7th International Yeast 2.0 and Synthetic Genomes Conference.
If you wish to join as a partner of the 7th International Yeast 2.0 and Synthetic Genomes Conference, please contact us
Professor Jef Boeke The Institute for Systems Genetics at NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City, USA
Jef is known for his foundational work on mechanistic and genomic aspects of retrotransposition. His lab develops new technologies in genetics, genomics and synthetic biology. He elucidated a major form of mobile DNA, based on reverse transcription of RNA. He coined the term “retrotransposition” to describe this process, common to virtually all eukaryotic genomes and now studied by a worldwide scientific community. His ‘systems-level’ studies helped elucidate intricate molecular mechanisms involved in retrotransposition in yeasts, mice and humans. In the exciting new area of Synthetic Biology, Jef is using yeast as a platform for exploring the construction of fully synthetic chromosomes for practical and theoretical studies. He leads an international team to synthesize an engineered version of the yeast genome, Sc2.0, the first synthetic eukaryotic genome, and a consortium to explore the design and synthesis of even larger genomes. He founded and directs the Institute for Systems Genetics at NYU Langone Health.
Associate Professor Yasunori Aizawa Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kanagawa Pref, Japan
Associate Professor Yasunori Aizawa holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Science from Kyoto University. He undertook postdoctoral positions at Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University before moving to the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he is an Associate Professor in the School of Life Science and Technology. His research interests are GP-Light: reducing size and redundancy to create the simplest human genome in cells; Technology development for GP-Light; and Identification, functional characterization and industrial transfer of small proteins encoded in ‘non-coding’ regions of the human genome (new gene hunting).
Professor Brenda Andrews Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Professor Brenda Andrews is the Charles H. Best Chair of Medical Research, Director of the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research and Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. Brenda completed her PhD in Medical Biophysics (with Paul Sadowski) at the University of Toronto, and postdoctoral training in genetics with the late Dr Ira Herskowitz at the University of California San Francisco. In 1991, Brenda was recruited to the Department of Medical Genetics (now Molecular Genetics) at the University of Toronto. She became Chair of the Department in 1999, a position she held for five years before assuming a position as Chair of the Banting & Best Department of Medical Research and as the inaugural Director of the Donnelly Centre. Brenda's current research interests include analysis of genetic interaction networks in budding yeast and mammalian cells, using high through-put genetics platforms that include high content microscopy for systematic analysis of cell biological phenotypes. She is a Companion of the Order of Canada, an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology.
Dr Anthony Borneman The Australian Wine Research Institute, South Australia, Australia
Anthony is a Principal Research Scientist at The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). Anthony joined the AWRI after a four year Postdoctoral position at Yale University where he was performing whole genome comparative network analysis of yeast species using chromatin immunoprecipitation microarrays. At the AWRI, Anthony is responsible for the genomics programs including whole genome assembly, comparative genomics and transcriptomic analysis.
Dr Tom Ellis Centre for Synthetic Biology and Department of Bioengineering
Imperial College London, London, UK
Dr Tom Ellis is a Reader leading research in synthetic biology and synthetic genome engineering in the Department of Bioengineering. He his an author of over 30 publications in synthetic biology including work in Nature Methods, Nature Biotechnology, PNAS, Science and Nature Reviews. He is leader of the UK project to build synthetic yeast chromosome XI for the international Sc2.0 project. His research focuses on developing the foundational tools for accelerating, automating and scaling design-led synthetic biology, focusing on research projects in yeast (S. cerevisiae) and E. coli model organisms, as well as industrially-relevant microbes such as Acetobacter, Geobacillus and Bacillus.
Associate Professor Danielle Tullman Ercek Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Danielle Tullman-Ercek is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on building biomolecular devices for a wide range of applications, including bioenergy, living batteries, biomaterials, biosensors, biomanufacturing in resource-limited environments, and drug delivery. She is particularly interested in engineering multi-protein complexes, such as virus capsids and the machines that transport proteins and small molecules across cellular membranes. Danielle received her BSc in Chemical Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and her PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. She carried out postdoctoral research at the University of California San Francisco and the Joint Bioenergy Institute, while a member of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In 2009, she joined the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering faculty at the University of California Berkeley, where she held the Charles Wilke Endowed Chair of Chemical Engineering and later the Merck Chair of Biochemical Engineering. In 2016, she moved her lab to Northwestern University, where she is also a Searle Scholar. Danielle is a member of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium, the recently launched NU Center for Synthetic Biology, and was awarded an NSF CAREER award for her work on the construction of bacterial organelles using protein membranes.
Professor John Glass Craig Venter Institute, San Diego, California, USA
Dr John Glass is a Professor and leader of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) Synthetic Biology and Bioenergy Group. His expertise is in molecular biology, microbial pathogenesis, RNA virology, and microbial genomics. John is part of the Venter Institute team that created the first bacterial cell with a chemically synthesized genome and a bacterial cell with a synthetic genome encoding only the essential gene set needed for life. In reaching this milestone the Venter Institute scientists developed the fundamental techniques of the new field of synthetic genomics including genome transplantation and genome assembly. John was also leader of the JCVI project that rapidly made synthetic influenza virus vaccine strains in collaboration with Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc. and Synthetic Genomics, Inc. At the JCVI he has also led the bacterial outer membrane vesicle based vaccine, genome transplantation, and Mycoplasma genitalium minimal genome projects, and projects studying other mycoplasma and ureaplasma species. John and his Venter Institute colleagues are now using synthetic biology and synthetic genomics approaches developed at the JCVI to create cells and organelles with redesigned genomes to make microbes that can produce biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and industrially valuable molecules. John is a founding members of the Build-A-Cell program to create synthetic cells, and member of the Global Viral Network Scientific Leadership Board.
Prior to joining the JCVI, John spent five years in the Infectious Diseases Research Division of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. There, he was a member of the hepatitis C virology group and a microbial genomics group (1998-2003). He was part of the Lilly and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. team that developed Incivek, one of the first drugs to cure hepatitis C virus.
John earned his undergraduate (Biology) and graduate degrees (Genetics) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His PhD work was on RNA virus genetics in the laboratory of Gail Wertz. He was on the faculty and did postdoctoral fellowships in the Microbiology Department of the University of Alabama at Birmingham in polio virology with Casey Morrow and mycoplasma pathogenesis with Gail Cassell (1990-1998).
Rick Johnson Global Helix LLC, USA
Rick Johnson focuses on integrating policy and law with science, engineering, Big Data, and biomedicine to drive research and innovation and to enable problem-oriented solutions to global challenges. His current interests include: (1) synthetic biology, the engineering of biology, and the industrialization of biology; (2) the bioeconomy and next-generation production economy; (3) neuroscience and brain health, especially Alzheimer’s; and (4) policy issues for convergence, international S&T, and Big Data.
Rick is the CEO and founder of Global Helix LLC, a thought leadership and innovative strategic positioning firm. After 30 years, Rick retired as Senior Partner at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, D.C., where he represented many of the leading research universities, foundations, and innovative multinational companies about enabling basic research, international collaborations, innovation strategies, and public-private partnerships through innovative approaches to law and policy.
Johnson is a member of the Board on Life Sciences at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the NAS Synthetic Biology Leadership Forum, and serves as Chairman of the NAS Bioeconomy initiative. He is a member of several other NAS initiatives: biomedical innovation and precision medicine; convergence and next-generation infrastructures; synthetic biology and the industrialization of biology; the BRAIN initiative; and the intersection of science and security issues.
He also serves as the Chairman of the BIAC Technology & Innovation Committee at the OECD, and he recently was named one of the 14 global members of the new OECD Global Advisory Council for Science, Technology, and Innovation. In addition, Rick is the Chairman of Brown’s Biology & Medicine Council and is a member of the boards for UC-Berkeley SynBerc, the Stanford BioFab and BioBricks Foundation, and the iGEM Foundation for global education. For many years, Rick served on the MIT Corporation Committee, and numerous university-industry boards.
In addition to receiving his Juris Doctor degree from the Yale Law School where he was Editor of the Yale Law Journal, he received his M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a National Science Foundation National Fellow and MIT distinguished young scholar, and his undergraduate degree with highest honors from Brown University.
Associate Professor Debra Mathews Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Debra is the Assistant Director for Science Programs for the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Debra earned her PhD in genetics from Case Western Reserve University, where she also earned a concurrent Masters in bioethics. She completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in genetics at Johns Hopkins, and the Greenwall Fellowship in Bioethics and Health Policy at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities. She has also spent time at the Genetics and Public Policy Center, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Debra’s academic work focuses on ethics and policy issues raised by emerging biotechnologies, with particular focus on genetics, stem cell science, neuroscience and synthetic biology.
Dr Leslie Mitchell New York University, New York, USA
Leslie received her PhD from the University of Ottawa in Canada and is now a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Jef Boeke at NYU Langone Medical Center. She is interested in chromosome and genome engineering in both yeast and mammalian systems and has worked on all aspects of the international Synthetic Yeast Genome Project, Sc2.0, which aims to build a designer yeast genome from scratch.
Professor Birger Lindberg Møller Center for Synthetic Biology, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark
Birger is the Professor in Plant Biochemistry, University of Copenhagen, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Section for Plant Biochemistry, (since 1990), Director of UNIK Synthetic Biology, one of four “Centres of Excellence” established in Denmark by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (since 2010), Scientific head of bioSYNergy, the 2016 UCPH funds (since 2013), and is the Director of Villum Research Center for Plant Plasticity (since 2013).
Professor Lars Nielsen Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, The University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia
Lars is Professor and Chair of Biological Engineering at The University of Queensland, Senior Group Leader at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology (AIBN), and Scientific Director at the Novo Nordisk Center for Biosustainability, DTU, Denmark. He is Director of the Queensland Bioplatforms Australia Node, which provides systems and synthetic biology support to design and build cell factories for the production of fuels, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
His core research interest is modelling of cellular metabolism and his team has made many contributions to the formulation and use of genome-scale models. He recently received a Novo Nordisk Foundation Laureate Research Grant to develop large-scale, mathematical models to explore and explain the molecular basis for homeostasis – the self-regulating processes evolved to maintain metabolic equilibrium. Studying homeostasis is relevant for the understanding and treatment of complex diseases, particular with the emergence of personalised medicine. It is equally important when we seek to repurpose the cellular machinery for the production of desired chemicals, materials and pharmaceuticals.
Professor Kathryn North AM Murdoch Children's Research Institute, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Kathryn is Director of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the David Danks Professor of Child Health Research at the University of Melbourne.
She is trained as a physician, neurologist and clinical geneticist and, in 1994, was awarded a doctorate for research in neurogenetics. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Harvard Genetics Program.
Kathryn is a national and international leader in Genomic medicine. In 2014, she was appointed as Co-Chair of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health – a collaborative network of over 400 organisations across over 45 countries funded by the NIH and the Wellcome Trust (genomicsandhealth.org). Commencing in 2016, she leads an NHMRC-funded national network of over 40 institutions - the Australian Genomics Health Alliance (AGHA). The goal of AGHA is to provide evidence and practical strategies for the implementation of genomic medicine in the Australian health system.
Kathryn has received a number of awards including the GSK Australia Award for Research Excellence (2011), the Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research (2012) and Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to medicine in the field of neuromuscular and neurogenetics research (2012). In 2012, Kathryn was appointed Chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council Research Committee and in 2014 was appointed as a Foundation fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science. She chairs the International Advisory Board of the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (UK) and is a member of the Board of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
Professor Ian O'Hara Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia
Ian is a Principal Research Fellow specialising in bioenergy, biofuels and biorefining at Queensland University of Technology. Ian’s research interests include the development, process engineering, scale-up and techno-economic assessment of new bioproduct technologies. In 2016, Ian was appointed by the Queensland Government as the Queensland Biofutures Industry Envoy. As the Envoy, Ian provides strategic advice to government and assists in securing domestic and international investment within the Biofutures sector. Ian is also a Director of Bioenergy Australia.
Professor Bert Poolman University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
Bert was trained in bioenergetics and microbiology and moved to biochemistry and biophysics in later years. Central questions in his research are: i) how do molecules permeate biological membranes? and ii) how can one control solute fluxes and thereby the volume and physicochemistry of the cell? Bert has a track record in vectorial biochemistry, including membrane transport and cellular osmoregulation as well as the development of innovative technologies in membrane biology. He has advanced the field of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) and secondary active transporters by combining functional and structural studies. His group is also credited with several methodological advances, including the expression and quality control of membrane proteins, which are crucial for the in vitro reconstitution of cellular function and microscopy analysis of translocation processes. His main current research areas include:
• Bacterial cell-volume regulation: elucidation of the homeostatic mechanisms that control the physicochemistry of the cell;
• Synthetic cells: bottom up construction of functional far-from-equilibrium systems for metabolic energy conservation and development of protein networks for physicochemical homeostasis;
• Traffic of membrane proteins: understanding of the targeted delivery, localization and energetics of nutrient transporters in the plasma membrane of yeast.
Bert is editor of the Journal of Molecular Biology. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), focus area leader of the excellence centre Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, and principal investigator and program leader in the national gravitation program to build synthetic cells (BaSyC). In 2015 he was awarded an ERC Advanced grant.
Dr Daniel Schindler Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester, UK
Daniel did his PhD at the Center for Synthetic Microbiology (Synmikro) in Marburg, Germany. During his PhD he worked on synthetic chromosomes in E. coli to study chromosome maintenance systems. In March 2017, he joined the group of Prof. Patrick Yizhi Cai at the University of Edinburgh as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, and his work is focused on the tRNA neochromosome of the Sc2.0 project. In Autumn 2017, the group moved to the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Manchester where Daniel is continuing the deep characterisation of the neochromosome.
Dr Yue (Chantal) Shen BGI and China National GeneBank, Shenzhen, China
Chantal is currently the director of Genome Synthesis and Editing Center of China National Genebank, BGI-Shenzhen. She and her group have set up the synthesis biology platform in BGI since 2011. She initiated the Sc2.0 yeast genome project in BGI (Chromosome II, VII and XIII) and established the genome synthesis capacity using microchip-based DNA synthesis technology and automation approaches. Her group is currently working on establishing genome synthesis and editing enabling technologies for medical, biomanufacture and agriculture related applications.
Professor Christina Smolke Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
Professor Christina 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, that 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.
Dr Erika Szymanski University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Erika is a research fellow in Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Her research concerns human-yeast relationships in and outside of synthetic biology, microbial participation in human industry, the development of yeast as a tractable laboratory organism, and the history of the yeast genome sequencing project. Erika also enjoys putting her background in microbiology, English rhetoric and writing studies, and science communication to good use in writing about wine science and technology.
Professor Hiroshi Takagi Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Nara, Japan
Hiroshi is Professor at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology. After he received the degree of MSc in immunology at Nagoya University (1982) he worked at Ajinomoto Co. Inc. as a research scientist (1982 to 1995). In 1986 he studied at State University of New York at Stony Brook under Professor Masayori Inouye, and received his PhD at the University of Tokyo under Prof. Takahisha Ohta in 1988 for protein engineering of the Bacillus subtilis subtilisin E. He was promoted to Chief Biochemist for protein engineering of microbial enzymes for industrial use and development of frozen dough. In 1995, Hiroshi was appointed Associate Professor at Fukui Prefectural University. He then started his major fundamental research on novel stress-tolerant mechanisms of yeast, focusing on amino acid metabolism and ubiquitin system, and their applications to industrial yeast breeding. He was promoted to full Professor in 2001 and moved to Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) in 2006. The Takagi lab is involved in Applied Molecular Microbiology including yeast projects and the bacterial cysteine/sulfur metabolism. He is currently Chair of the International Commission on Yeasts (ICY). Hiroshi was the recipient of the ‘Achievement Award of the Society for Biotechnology, Japan’ in 2017.
Dr Tom Williams Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Tom is a CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Fellow at Macquarie University. He completed his PhD at The University of Queensland and undergraduate education (BSc, MSc) at The University of Waikato (New Zealand). Tom's research utilises synthetic biology, laboratory evolution, and systems biology to elucidate novel biological design principles. He is also part of the international 'Yeast 2.0' consortium, which is aimed at designing, building, and testing chemically synthesized yeast genomes.
Dr Josh Wodak University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Josh's research concerns the ethics and efficacy of technoscientific conservation in the Anthropocene. His work critically appraises the fields of Synthetic Biology, Assisted Evolution, and Climate Engineering, drawing on the Environmental Humanities and Science & Technology Studies. He is currently a Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Project Understanding Australia in The Age of Humans: Localising the Anthropocene; a member of the Andrew Mellon Australia-Pacific Observatory in Environmental Humanities, Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney; and a Lecturer at UNSW Art & Design.