Conference Programme

Harnessing synthetic biology for the future; keeping us healthy, feeding & fuelling our growing population, & helping us lead more sustainable lives

SynbiTECH 2019, 24-25th June, QEII Centre, London

Science, engineering and technology continue to impact and guide our futures through the rapidly expanding bioeconomy – helping us to stay healthy, feed our growing population, produce enough energy and live sustainably on our fragile planet.

Day One
Networking/Refreshments 08:15 – 09:00

Registration and Coffee

Networking/Refreshments 09:00 – 09:15


Professors Richard Kitney and Paul Freemont, Co-Directors, SynbiCITE

Lord David Willetts, Executive Chair, Resolution Foundation

Keynote 09:15 – 10:00

Keynote: Designing biology at scale

Jason Kelly, CEO, Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo is passionate about engineering biology. We use the power of biology to build sustainable products in food, pharma, manufacturing, and more on a global scale.

Panel discussions 10:00 – 10:45

Panel Discussion: Growing the Bioeconomy
Multibillion-dollar biology: The explosive expansion of synthetic biology propelling the bioeconomy to multibillion-dollar status. 

Introduced and chaired by Lionel Clarke, Co-chair, Synthetic Biology Leadership Council

  • Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (subject to any urgent Parliamentary business)
  • Steve Bagshaw, CEO, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies
  • Joyce Tait, Co-Director, Innogen Institute
  • Dr Sarah Main, Executive Director, Campaign for Science and Engineering
  • Prof Hamadi Iddi Boga, Principal Secretary, State Department of Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, Kenya 

The successful use of synthetic biology innovation requires industrial strategy and policies that support manufacturing at scale to solve global challenges; hear from leading policymakers and industry influencers on how the UK is striding ahead in growing the global bioeconomy.

Networking/Refreshments 10:45 – 11:15

Coffee Break 

Presentations 11:15 – 12:30

Company Presentations: Accelerating bioscience
Tools and applications that are shaping our future now

Chair: Dr Liz FletcherManager, UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology

Multinational speaker: 
Andrew Phillips, Head of Biological Computation Group, Microsoft

SME / Start-up speakers:

  • Markus Gershater, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder, Synthace Ltd
  • Ryan Cawood, CEO and Founder, Oxford Genetics Ltd
  • Tim Brears, CEO, Evonetix
  • Jiahao Huang, Founder and CCO, Nuclera Nucleics
  • Davide De Lucrezia, Managing Director, Doulix
  • Kristin Ellis, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Opentrons Labworks 

Hear how world-leading UK companies are innovating to create DNA by the kilogramme using AI-driven integrated machines, alongside customised 'systems thinking' technology, for automated manufacturing systems

Networking/Refreshments 12:30 – 13:30


Panel discussions 13:30 – 14:15

Panel Discussion: Technology & Innovation 

Introduced and Chaired by Rick JohnsonCEO, Global Helix LLC

  • Chi Onwurah, Labour MP, Newcastle upon Tyne Central; Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Science and Innovation (subject to any urgent Parliamentary business)
  • Tim Fell, CEO, Synthace Ltd
  • Tim Brears, Chair, Engineering Biology Advisory Committee
  • Mike Biddle, Interim Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Operating Officer, and Director - Strategy, Innovate UK

Raising industry and public awareness of industrialised synthetic biology is all important and requires clear and current thinking to maintain the best interests of society at its core; experts from across the industry, responsible innovation practitioners and policymakers discuss how this is being done better than you might be aware

Keynote 14:15 – 14:45

Keynote: Emerging Investment Trends in the Synthetic Biology Industry

John Cumbers, Founder, SynBioBeta

  • Past, present and future of synthetic biology
  • What's the shape of the industry?
  • Where is the industry?
  • Who is investing and what are they investing in?
  • What are the emerging trends?
Panel discussions 14:45 – 15:30

Panel Discussion: How might we best develop synthetic biology with and for society?

Chaired by Sir Roland Jackson, Research Associate, UCL

  • Hilary Sutcliffe, Director, SocietyInside
  • Philip Shapira, Professor of Innovation Management, University of Manchester
  • Nicolas Kral, Co-founder and CTO, Phytoform Labs
  • Philip Macnaghten, Personal Chair in Technology & International Development, Wageningen University & Research
  • James Field, Founder & CEO, LabGenius
Networking/Refreshments 15:30 – 16:00

Tea Break

Keynote 16:00 – 16:30

Synbio Unplugged: In conversation with Hagan Bayley

Hagan Bayley, Co-Founder, Oxford Nanopore Technologies

Interviewed by Carly Minsky, Senior Reporter, Sifted

Presentations 16:30 – 17:45

Company Presentations: Making a material difference to the planet
Sustainable biomanufacturing and the environment 

Chair: Dr Kirk Malone, Director of Commercialisation, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology

Multinational speaker: 
Prof Nigel Scrutton, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester

SME / Start-up speakers:

  • Sean Sutcliffe, Chief Executive Officer, Green Biologics Ltd
  • Grant Aarons, CEO & Co-founder, FabricNano
  • Elizabeth Nickerson, Director of Business Development - Synthetic Biology, Integrated DNA Technologies
  • ​​​​​​Clare Trippett, Technology and Innovation Officer, Centre for Process Innovation Ltd

Biomanufacturing at scale can create materials that will make an enormous difference to preserving our environment and furthering sustainability, with implications ranging from reducing man-made climate change effects, to reprocessing waste into useful materials and energy. Hear from leaders in the field about how they biomanufacture at scale, the novel processes and equipment they use and the accelerating business growth they achieve as a result

Networking/Refreshments 17:45 – 19:30

Sponsored Champagne and Networking 

Day Two
Networking/Refreshments 08:00 – 08:30

Arrival and Coffee

Keynote 08:30 – 09:10

Policy Presentations: Growing the bioeconomy - solving global challenges 

  • Melanie Welham, Executive Chair, BBSRC:  Synthetic Biology: UKRI activities supporting the UK Roadmap
  • Beate El-Chichakli, Head of the Secretariat of the German Bioeconomy Council
  • Paul Henderson, Head of Bioeconomy Strategy & Plastics, BEIS
  • Prof. Collette Suda, Chief Administrative Secretary and Principal Secretary, State Department for University Education and Research, Ministry of Education, Kenya

The global bioeconomy is driven by policy supporting industrial strategy; hear from leading global policymakers how they are supporting synthetic biology strategy, policy and the regulatory environment, their agenda for growth and what’s coming next for synthetic biology

Keynote 09:10 – 09:30

Plenary: Twist Bioscience 

Rebecca Nugent, Director, Synthetic Biology Research, Twist Bioscience

Keynote 09:30 – 10:00

KeynoteHow did we get here and where are we going? 
Examining the ever-evolving state of sustainability and innovation in the fashion industry

Claire Bergkamp, Sustainability & Innovation Director, Stella McCartney 

Panel discussions 10:00 – 10:45

Panel Discussion: How to dress the world better: Bio-design and fashion

Chair: Helene Steiner, Director & Co-Founder Open Cell


  • Claire Bergkamp, Sustainability & Innovation Director, Stella McCartney 
  • Zowie Broach, Head of Programme for Fashion, Royal College of Art
  • Marie-Sarah Adenis, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Pili
  • Sarah Mower, Chief Critic, Vogue
  • Dr Orr Yarkoni, CEO, Colorifix Ltd

Synthetic biology innovation can create new, sustainable fabrics, dyes and materials for the fashion industry, hugely impacting global resource use. These include spider silk, mushroom leather and reprocessed plastics. Hear from leaders in sustainability and innovation, from brands such as Stella McCartney, Vogue, Pili, Colorifix, who are redesigning the future of fashion using the newest advances and innovation in synthetic biology

Networking/Refreshments 10:45 – 11:15

Coffee Break

Presentations 11:15 – 12:30

Company Presentations: The synbio effect on healthcare

Multinational speaker: 
David Tew, Technical Project Lead, Biological Technologies, GSK

SME / Start-up speakers:

  • Adam Perriman, Academic Founder, CytoSeek
  • Geoff Baldwin, Founder, Cagen
  • Matthew Hicks, Director and Founder, Linear Diagnostics Ltd
  • Edward Green, Founder & Chief Executive, Chain Biotech
  • Michael Linden, Chief Scientific Officer, Touchlight Genetics
  • Ted Fjallman, CEO, Prokarium

Synthetic biology is transforming healthcare – from the design of new vaccine platforms, to manufacturing DNA by the kg, to personalised treatments based on diagnostics never before possible without synthetic biology. Hear from global leaders and innovators in synthetic biology about their new vaccine platforms, cancer and heart disease treatments, diagnostic tools and microbiome therapeutics

Networking/Refreshments 12:30 – 13:30


Panel discussions 13:30 – 14:15

Panel Discussion: High impact investment opportunities in synthetic biology

Chair: Mike Ward, Chief Content Officer, Informa Pharma Intelligence Insights Portfolio

  • Irina Haivas, Principal, Atomico
  • George Katzaros, Co-founder & Partner, Farm Street Partners
  • Melya Hughes Crameri, Partner, Ventac Partners 
  • Eleonora Mantovani, Programme Associate, RebelBio
  • Oliver Sexton, Investment Director, UKI2S

Global investment in synthetic biology companies in 2018 reached a record high of £3.2 billion. In 2019 the outlook is very positive, with £520 million raised in the first quarter alone according to figures from SynBioBeta. Hear from investors in UK and US synthetic biology companies about just how good this outlook is and why everyone should consider investing in synthetic biology start-ups and SMEs

Presentations 14:15 – 15:45

Company Presentations: Food and new technology for a healthy and sustainable world

Chair: Dr Dieuwertje van der Does, Programme Manager, OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre

Multinational speaker: 
Jason Vincent, Head of Synthetic Biology, Syngenta

SME / Start-up speakers:

  • Benjamina Bollag, Co-founder & CEO, Higher Steaks & Stephanie Wallis, CSO & Co-founder, Higher Steaks
  • Paul Hudman, Technical Director, 3F BIO
  • Julian Melchiorri, CEO & Founder, Arborea
  • William Pelton, CEO, Phytoform
  • Simon Cameron, Director, Ambimass
  • Oliver Severn, Research Manager, Singer Instruments
  • Chueh Loo Poh, Director, AdvanSyn
Networking/Refreshments 15:45 – 16:10

Tea Break 

Presentations 16:10 – 17:00

Company Presentations: Materials, Chemicals and Therapeutics for a Healthy and Sustainable World

Chair: Dr Ros Le Feuvre, Director of Operations, SYNBIOCHEM and FBRH

SME / Start-up speakers:

  • Ben Reeve, CTO, CustoMem
  • Staffan Piledahl, Software Engineer, LabGenius
  • Albor Dobon-Alonso, Senior Microbiologist, Leaf Expression Systems 
  • Ian Fotheringham, Managing Director, Ingenza
  • Charlotte Casebourne, CEO, Theolytics

From cleaning water of toxins to creating new proteins, new therapeutics and sustainably generated products, hear from start-ups changing the face of global sustainability using innovation ranging from AI to automation in synthetic biology R&D and manufacturing

Keynote 17:00 – 17:30

Synbio Unplugged: In conversation with Hermann Hauser

Hermann Hauser, Co-founder and Venture Partner, Amadeus Capital Partners

Interviewed by Mike Ward, Chief Content Officer, Informa Pharma Intelligence Insights Portfolio

Keynote 17:30 – 18:00

Synbio Unplugged: In conversation with Lord David Willetts

Lord David Willetts, Executive Chair, Resolution Foundation

Interviewed by Lyndsey Jones, Executive editor & Section chief, Day Production, Financial Times 

Panel discussions 18:00 – 18:30

Biodesign: moving beyond discovery

  • Dr. Thomas Meany, Co-Founder & Director, Open Cell
  • Natsai Audrey Chieza, Founder, Faber Futures
  • Pierre-Yves Paslier, Cofounder, Skipping Rocks Lab
  • James FieldFounder & CEO, LabGenius

Hear from leading-lights in biodesign on how they are redesigning our futures using the power and utility of organisms and their natural interaction with larger and ever-changing ecosystems around us, from cell-free technologies to AI derived proteins

Networking/Refreshments 18:30 – 20:00

Closing reception and networking 

Networking / Refreshments
Panel discussions