Our diverse panel of speakers from across the world will share their opinions, insights and expertise at this not to be missed event as we accelerate towards realising synthetic biology's true potential.
More speakers coming soon
German Bioeconomy Council
Head of the Secretariat, German Bioeconomy Council
Since 2016, Beate El-Chichakli manages the Secretariat of the Bioeconomy Council of the German Federal Government where she previously worked as senior researcher. She has more than 15 years of professional experience in policy advise and international cooperation. After graduating from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration in 1999, she held positions as research officer, project manager and consultant for United Nations organizations in Geneva and Vienna with a focus on trade capacity building and SME development. Ms. El-Chichakli received her doctorate in Economics and Social Sciences (International Marketing) from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration in 2013 and also was a lecturer for empirical market research at the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) in Berlin.
Amadeus Capital Partners
Dr Hermann Hauser
Co-founder & Venture Partner, Amadeus Capital Partners
In 2015 Hermann was awarded a KBE for services to Engineering and Industry.
Serial Entrepreneur and Co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, Dr Hermann Hauser KBE has wide experience in developing and financing companies in the information technology sector. He co-founded a number of high-tech companies including Acorn Computers which spun out ARM, E-trade UK, Virata and Cambridge Network. Subsequently, Hermann became vice president of research at Olivetti. During his tenure at Olivetti, he established a global network of research laboratories. Since leaving Olivetti, Hermann has founded over 20 technology companies. In 1997, he co-founded Amadeus Capital Partners. At Amadeus he invested in CSR, Solexa, Icera, Xmos and Cambridge Broadband.
Hermann is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry and of the Royal Academy of Engineering, as well as an Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. In 2001 he was awarded an Honorary CBE for ‘innovative service to the UK enterprise sector’. In 2004 he was made a member of the Government’s Council for Science and Technology and in 2013 he was made a Distinguished Fellow of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.
Hermann has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Loughborough, Bath, Anglia Ruskin, Strathclyde, Glasgow and York.
Sustainability and Innovation Director, Stella McCartney
Claire Bergkamp joined Stella McCartney in 2012 and is the Worldwide Director of Sustainability and Innovation. During her tenure, Claire has helped establish the brand’s leadership and reputation in sustainability. Developing its robust environmental and social improvement strategy and worked across the brand and its supply chain internationally to implement it. Claire has focused particularly on sustainable raw material development and procurement, as well as driving alternative materials and innovation. As such, she works closely with innovators, start-ups and universities to find new sustainable business models and solutions. A key element of her sustainability approach includes supplier engagement and the ongoing improvement in social welfare across the supply chain. Within this context, she also oversees Stella McCartney's ethical trade and community outreach programmes.
Lord David Willetts
Executive Chair, Resolution Foundation
The Rt Hon. Lord David Willetts FRS is the Executive Chair of the Resolution Foundation. He served as the Member of Parliament for Havant (1992-2015), as Minister for Universities and Science (2010-2014) and previously worked at HM Treasury and the No. 10 Policy Unit.
Lord Willetts is a visiting Professor at King’s College London, a Board member of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a Board member of Surrey Satellites and of the Biotech Growth Trust. He is the Chair of the Sanger Institute and the Chair of Foundation for Science and Technology. He is an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College, an Honorary fellow of the Royal Society and the Chancellor of the University of Leicester.
Lord Willetts has written widely on economic and social policy. His book ‘The Pinch’ about fairness between the generations was published in 2010. His latest book “A University Education” is published by Oxford University Press.
Dr Jason Kelly
Co-Founder and CEO, Ginkgo BioWorks
Jason Kelly is the co-founder and CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks. Ginkgo is a synthetic biology company that genetically engineers "made-to-order" cells for customers in the chemical, pharmaceutical, food, and energy industries.
The company engineers these cells in their 100,000 sqft automated genetic engineering foundry and has partnerships with companies including ADM, Cargill, and Ajinomoto as well as top 5 beverage, petrochemical, and electronics companies. Ginkgo recently announced a $100M joint venture with Bayer to develop microbes to make food crops self-fertilizing and in 2017 Ginkgo was selected #7 on CNBC's Disruptor 50 List of fast-growing companies.
Jason has previously spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Allen & Co Sun Valley conference, and the US Library of Congress. Prior to Ginkgo, Jason received B.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biology and a PhD in Biological Engineering all from MIT.
Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Professor Hagan Bayley
Co-Founder, Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Hagan Bayley is Professor of Chemical Biology at the University of Oxford. Major interests of his laboratory are the development of engineered pores for stochastic sensing, the study of covalent chemistry at the single molecule level, ultra-rapid DNA sequencing and the fabrication of synthetic tissues.
He received his B.A. in chemistry from Oxford in 1974, while at Balliol College, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University in 1979 in the laboratory of Jeremy Knowles. After postdoctoral work with Gobind Khorana at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he was on the faculty at Columbia University and the University of Oxford. From 1988 to 1996, he was at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, and from 1997 to 2003 at Texas A&M University in College Station.
In 2005, Professor Bayley founded Oxford Nanopore to exploit the potential of stochastic sensing technology. The company has developed the MinION portable DNA sequencer. In 2014, he founded OxSyBio to build synthetic tissues for regenerative medicine. He has been a recipient of the Royal Society’s Wolfson Research Merit Award and was the 2009 Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2011, Professor Bayley was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 2012, he was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry's Interdisciplinary Prize and in 2017, the Menelaus Medal of the Learned Society of Wales. In, 2018 Professor Bayley held the Kavli Chair at TU Delft.
Campaign for Science and Engineering
Dr Sarah Main
Executive Director, Campaign for Science and Engineering
Dr Sarah Main is the Executive Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) and represents the interests of CaSE members in the media and in high-level discussions with Government Ministers, Parliamentary Committees, Chief Scientific Advisors and senior civil servants. Sarah has been a member of advisory groups for influential policy reviews, including the Centre for Social Justice's report 'The Great British Breakthrough' - Driving Productivity Growth in the UK, launched by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2017; and the Reid review of Government Funded Research and Innovation in Wales, commissioned by the Welsh Government and published in 2018. Sarah is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and a Trustee of the British Science Association.
Chief Executive Officer, Evonetix Ltd
Tim Brears is Chief Executive Officer of Evonetix Ltd, a Cambridge-based company developing a radically different approach to gene synthesis. He previously served as Chief Executive of a number of bioscience companies, including Xention, a biopharmaceutical company specialising in the discovery and development of ion-channel-modulating drugs for the control of atrial fibrillation, and Gendaq, a company focused on the development of zinc finger proteins for gene regulation. Prior to that, he spent ten years in the US, initially as a long-term fellow of the European Molecular Biology Organisation at Rockefeller University, New York, and subsequently as Director of Licensing at Ciba-Geigy (later Novartis) Agribusiness in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnology
CEO, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnology
Steve is the global leader of his business reporting directly to Fujifilm HQ in Tokyo with sites in Teesside UK, North Carolina and Texas, USA. The company has over 1300 staff at the three locations engaged in contract process development and manufacture for the biopharmaceutical industry.
During his time in post the company has grown significantly and is now recognised as one of the world’s leading Biologics CDMOs with globally leading technologies, assets and capabilities across the wide range of biopharmaceuticals – therapeutics, vaccines and advanced therapies.
In 2013 Steve became Chair of the UK Industrial Biotechnologies Leadership Forum – co-chairing the meeting with a number of UK Government Ministers from BIS / BEIS. He also co-chaired the joint activities with BEIS and four other leadership councils to develop and recently launch the UK Bioeconomy Strategy in Dec 2018.
AdvanceSyn Pte Ltd
Chueh Loo Poh
Co-Founder and Director, AdvanceSyn Pte Ltd
Dr. Chueh Loo POH is an Associate Professor with the Department of Biomedical Engineering at National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore. He is also a Principal Investigator at NUS Synthetic Biology for Clinical and Technological Innovation (SynCTI) and leads the NUS Biofoundry. He is co-founder and non-executive director of a Singapore startup company, AdvanceSyn Pte Ltd, which specializes on providing model assisted design tools and services for Synthetic Biology. He obtained his PhD in Bioengineering from Imperial College London, UK and B.Eng. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. His research group has been reprogramming microbes for medical and industrial applications. His current research interests include microbial biosensors, optogenetics, synthetic gene circuits design and automation, modelling of biological systems for design, and computer aided design (CAD) tools for SynBio. He has received a number of awards including Tan Chin Tuan Fellowship in 2012 and NTU Excellence in Teaching award in 2010. He is currently the co-Editor-in-Chief of IET Engineering Biology journal.
UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Head of Bioeconomy and Plastics, UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Paul Henderson is Head of Bioeconomy and Plastics at the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). His key responsibilities include delivering an ambitious new government / industry strategy that aims to double the size of the UK bioeconomy by 2030, as well as contributing to key UK objectives around resource productivity, carbon reduction and clean growth. Paul has been working in the area of sustainability for 20 years, across the public and private sector. After working on a three-year behaviour change project in Queensland, Australia, he joined what was then the Department for Energy and Climate Change in 2013. He has since worked on key projects such as the Renewable Heat Incentive and the Industrial Decarbonisation 2050 Roadmaps. In January 2017 he joined the Bioeconomy and Chemicals team in BEIS as lead for the bioeconomy, to help ensure the UK can become a global leader in developing, manufacturing, using and exporting bio-based solutions.
Technical Project Lead, Biological Technologies, GSK
David Tew is a GSK Senior Fellow and a member of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology group at GSK that was formed in 2013. His role is to seek new aspects of emerging bioscience, particularly the application of Synthetic Biology, and adapt it for use in new drug manufacturing processes ranging from traditional small molecules through to biopharmaceuticals. Most recently David has been leading a project to apply Synthetic Biology to redesign the manufacture of therapeutic oligonucleotides.
Prior to joining Advanced Manufacturing Technology, David ‘s career spans more than 25 years in early drug discovery being involved in various aspects of mechanistic enzymology, assay development, especially for miniaturised assay formats, and reagent generation.
David has recently been appointed as The Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence at Bristol University.
Dr. Baldwin is Co-Director of the Imperial College Centre for Synthetic Biology and Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in BioDesign Engineering. He has spent his career at the interface of the physical and life sciences and has been working in synthetic biology since 2009. He has an active programme of research in DNA assembly, part characterisation, circuit design and implementation. These are being applied to in vivo approaches to directed evolution for the creation of new specificity and functionality for biosynthetic pathway optimisation. He also has an active programme of research and commercialisation around the use of protein nanocages as drug delivery vectors.
Skipping Rocks Lab
Cofounder & Co-CEO, Skipping Rocks Lab
Pierre is a London-based Innovation Design Engineer. After graduating from the RCA, he co-founded two startups, Skipping Rocks Lab (edible water bottle) and Gravity Sketch (3D design tool).
When he’s not working on these innovative startups, you can find him building 3D printers, homemade drones and street art robots. He has given a number of conferences about his projects including TEDx conferences and has written for Wired Magazine.
Leaf Expression Systems
Senior Microbiologist, Leaf Expression Systems
Albor Dobon-Alonso originally from Spain graduated from the UPV (Valencia, Spain) with an MSc. Eng. in Agronomy. He obtained a PhD in Plant Biotechnology in Dr Pablo Tornerois lab at the IBMCP (Valencia, Spain) studying plant pathogen interaction in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. After a short postdoc with Professor Pablo Vera he was awarded with a Marie Curie IEF Fellowship to work in the Professor Cristobal Uauy’s Lab at the John Innes Centre where he studied yellow rust disease in wheat, focused in effector discovery. After that, he has been involved in several projects, including exploring the plant production of VLPs in Professor George Lomonossoff’s Lab.
Albor joined Leaf Expression Systems in July 2018 and is the Senior Microbiology Scientist of the company.
Manchester Institute of Biotechnology
Director, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology
Nigel is Director of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, a post he has held since 2010. He is also Professor in the School of Chemistry at the University of Manchester. He is Director of the Manchester Synthetic Biology Research Centre SYNBIOCHEM, which he established in 2014 following major investment by the UK government in synthetic biology. He is also Director of the Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub established in 2019, which is developing new technologies to accelerate bio-based manufacturing in the UK in three key sectors – pharmaceuticals, chemicals and engineering materials. He has published over 430 research publications and several patents, and he has served on several national committees, including research council / funding committees and strategic advisory boards / scientific steering groups. In 2015 he co-founded the company C3 Biotechnologies Ltd to commercialise technologies for fuels and chemicals production using synthetic biology.
Dr. Melya Hughes Crameri
Partner, Ventac Partners
Dr. Melya Hughes Crameri is an entrepreneur and partner with Ventac Partners. With 20+ years’ experience in the life sciences industry in the USA and Europe, Melya has served several private companies in corporate strategy and business development. She served as VP Alliances & Intellectual Property of Evolva SA, a synthetic biology company, from Series A to its exit on the SIX Swiss Exchange, and was Founder, President & CEO of Genetic Chemistry Inc. (Evolva’s US subsidiary), securing multi-million dollar discovery contracts and supporting $50M in venture funding. Previously, she served as Head of Licensing and Patents, Novartis Research Foundation (FMI). Melya is a European Patent Attorney and a U.S Patent Agent. She earned her BSc (Hons.) in Biochemistry from Cardiff University and her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Basel, Switzerland.
Sarah Mower MBE
Chief Critic, Voguerunway
Sarah Mower MBE is Chief Critic of Voguerunway and British Fashion Council Ambassador for Emerging Talent.
Sarah Mower MBE is an advocate and mentor for emerging fashion talent. She is chair of the New Gen scheme which has successfully launched a generation of designers in London, making the city a global capital for innovative fashion. She serves as Visiting Professor at Central Saint Martins, Honorary Fellow at The Royal College of Art, Doctor at the University of Westminster and Doctor of Arts, Academy of Arts University, San Francisco.
Research Manager, Singer Instruments
Research Manager within Singer Instruments, Oliver leads a small team of scientists. Primarily, the team look into testing and feature development of screening robotics. This adds scientific insight to the Engineering and Software teams, which in total make up R&D. The lab is exponentially expanding, from a testing arm, into a more robust research entity. Increasingly so, the Research team is growing in collaboration with academic labs, with an influx of PhD internships and engagement with the Aromagenesis project. This has allowed independent research to be performed in-house, benefiting the field of yeast fermentation, and creating the perfect testbed for new product development. As an alumni of the SBRC Nottingham, and previous research in bacterial fermentation, this new avenue of research is already proving fascinating.
Department for Agricultural Research, Kenya
Prof Hamadi Iddi Boga
Principal Secretary State, Department for Agricultural Research, Kenya
Born 03.12.1967 in Kwale Kenya, Prof. Hamadi Iddi Boga, is the Principal Secretary State Department for Agricultural Research and Acting Principal Secretary, State Department for Crop Development. He was a Professor of Microbiology at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) was the Acting Vice Chancellor of Taita Taveta University since 7th October 2016. He has a BSc in Botany and Zoology (First Class Honors) and MSc in Botany (Microbiology) from Kenyatta University in Kenya, PhD in Microbial Ecology and Microbiology from University of Konstanz, Germany and a Post-Doctoral Research stay at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany. He is also a Humboldt Fellow and was from 2010-2015 the Humboldt Ambassador Scientist for Kenya.
Boga has previously, held various administrative positions in JKUAT including Chairman of Botany Department (2002-2004), Director of Institute of Biotechnology Research (2005), Dean of Faculty of Science (2007) and Principal of JKUAT Taita Taveta Campus in Voi (2007 to 2012). From 2012-2016 he was the Principal of Taita Taveta University College.
He has an extensive international and local network of scientific engagements and collaborations. He was a Board Member of the World Federation of Culture Collections (www.wfcc.org)(2010-2013). He was the Secretary of the African German Network of Excellence in Science (AGNES) (2013-2016), the Secretary (2002-2006) and later Chairman (2008-2010) of the Kenya German Scholars Association (KDSA).
Boga has over 66 scientific publications in International Journals, has supervised over 14 PhD and 31 MSc students. He is an active researcher with active international collaborations. Has a strong track record of fundraising for research. He has wide experience in Management and strategic planning.
UK Synthetic Biology Leadership Council
Co-Chair, UK Synthetic Biology Leadership Council
Lionel Clarke co-chairs the UK Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC), having issued the UK Synthetic Biology Roadmap in July 2012 and ‘Biodesign for the Bioeconomy’ a Strategic Plan for UK Synthetic Biology, in 2016.
He is an Advisory Board member to BEIS, developing a strategy for the Bioeconomy as a major contribution towards the UK Industrial Strategy, and also sits on advisory boards in several universities and institutions including SynbiCITE at Imperial, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Royal Academy of Engineering, and was an advisor to the US National Research Council document ‘Industrialization of Biology’ 2015.
He is a visiting professor in the Department of Bioengineering in Imperial College and holds an honorary chair at the University of Manchester.
He is involved with several start-up companies including BionerG, Orthios Carbon Solutions and C3 Biotechnologies Ltd, drawing upon his previous academic experience at Imperial College, Cambridge and Grenoble and his industrial experience with Shell, where he formed numerous academic and industrial partnerships to take innovative ideas for better fuels and technologies from laboratory through to global markets.
Dr. Orr Yarkoni
CEO, Colorifix Ltd
Orr is CEO and co-founder of Colorifix. For the last 10 years he’s been applying his skill-set bridging synthetic biology with nanotechnology to biosensors, including the Cambridge/Edinburgh Arsenic Biosensor Collaboration. Since 2016 he has been a driving force for the implementation of synthetic biology into the Fashion and Textile Industries through Colorifix, where they use green biochemistry to replace one of the most polluting industrial activities on the planet: Dyeing.
Davide de Lucrezia
Managing Director, DOULIX
Davide De Lucrezia is currently the Managing Director of DOULIX, a business-unit of Explora Biotech Srl, and adjunct professor in Bio-nanomaterial at University Ca Foscari Venezia. He graduated in 2004 in Biology at the University of Rome “Roma Tre” and pursued a PhD degree in biochemistry in 2009. His main focus is to develop enabling technologies to empower the forward engineering of biological systems on multiple scales of complexity: from molecules to organisms.
Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Operating Officer, and Director - Strategy, Innovate UK
Mike is the Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Operating Officer, and Director - Strategy for Innovate UK.
Mike’ role is responsible for the operations, major programmes governance, and open and commercialisation directorates of Innovate UK.
In addition, Mike is also the Programme Director for the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which delivers the research and science that businesses need to transform existing industries, create new ones and deliver economic impact, jobs and growth. He also worked as Deputy Director for Fund Portfolio, with responsibility for the development of a balanced portfolio of hundreds of millions of grant funding activity.
One of Mike’s first roles with Innovate UK was as co-author on the UK strategy for electronics, photonics and electrical systems. He was the lead for the Assisted Living Innovation Platform, which promoted independence and quality of life among the ageing population. Over 5 years this platform invested more than £50 million to connect business to societal challenges and help the UK to access this global market opportunity. During this time he was also President of the Ambient Assisted Living Association, part of a pan-European investment activity worth over €600 million.
Prior to Innovate UK, Mike worked in the photonics industry for 10 years after graduating with a masters in physics from Imperial College, London. He is a Chartered Physicist with the Institute of Physics.
State Department for University Education & Research, Kenya
Prof. Collette A. Suda
Chief Administrative Secretary and Principal Secretary, State Department for University Education & Research, Kenya
Prof. Collette A. Suda, PhD, FKNAS, CBS, is a Professor of Rural Sociology from the University of Missouri, Colombia. In July 2018, she was appointed the Chief Administrative Secretary and Principal Secretary, State Department for University Education and Research, Ministry of Education. Before then, she was Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Principal Secretary for University Education and Principal Secretary for Science and Technology, Ministry of Education. Professor Suda was also Secretary for Gender and Social Development, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development. As Professor at the University of Nairobi, she held various administrative positions including Director, Institute of African Studies and Director, Board of Common Undergraduate Courses. She was awarded the2017- Order of Academic Palms(Ordre des Palmes academiques) by the Ministry of National Education of the Republic of France for distinguished academics in the field of culture and education. Prof. Suda delivered her INAUGURAL LECTURE “Formal monogamy and informal polygynyin parallel: African Family Traditions in Transition” at the University of Nairobi on 4th October, 2007
Farm Street Partners
Co-founder & Partner, Farm Street Partners
George has over 30 years’ investment experience in publicly quoted, private equity and venture capital. George has worked in an advisory capacity in asset management as well as investment banking and more recently as principal investor in venture capital predominantly in early-stage start-ups.
George is the founder of Clean tech group Verditek plc, putting together the core technologies, executive team and Non-Executive Board and leading the company to IPO on AIM. George is a founding shareholder and executive of the Eight Great Technologies UK Investment Holding company, formed together with ex-cabinet Minister for UK Science and Universities, the Right Honourable Lord David Willetts. More recently, George is also a co-founder of the ultra low cost modular energy self-reliant house supplier, ZeroWatt Homes.
Over a period of twenty years prior to investing in venture capital, George was formerly CEO of Flemings Spain, an MD at JP Morgan before working at Cazenove and ABN Amro in European Equities. He began his career at Hambros Bank as a credit analyst before specialising in Spanish equities and the banking sector with Dillon Read Inc.
CHAIN Biotechnology Ltd
Chief Executive, CHAIN Biotechnology Ltd
Edward is a microbiologist with a PhD in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Manchester and has over 25 years’ experience with anaerobic bacteria. He has pioneered technical improvements in microbial strain improvement and fermentation process development for biotechnology applications contributing to numerous scientific publications and patents. Edward is also a serial biotech entrepreneur having founded Green Biologics in 2004, a world-leading fermentation company manufacturing renewable chemicals. In 2014, Edward founded CHAIN Biotech, a microbiome company focused on the development of novel biotherapeutics targeting inflammation and infection in the gut. Edward participates on the IB Leadership Forum, several NIBB management boards and the BBSRC advisory panel for Bioenergy and Industrial Biotechnology.
Linear Diagnostics Limited
Co-founder, Linear Diagnostics Limited
Matt Hicks co-founded Linear Diagnostics Limited (LDL) with Professor Tim Dafforn in 2011 as a spin-out from the University of Birmingham. It was based on more than 10 years’ research on the measurement of the interactions of biological molecules using polarised light. He has 20 years’ experience in biochemistry and biophysics in academic and commercial sectors and has published over 40 research papers. Matt, who holds several patents, has a BSc in Biochemistry from Bristol and a DPhil in Biophysics. He has worked on the design of anti-viral drugs, diagnostics development, and synthetic biology. He is a world-leader in linear dichroism spectroscopy which is the underlying technology of LDL. His current role as Chief Technology Officer at LDL is focussed on the development of a medical diagnostics platform with first products aimed at rapid, near patient diagnosis of infectious diseases.
OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre
Dr. Dieuwertje van der Does
Programme Manager, OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre
Dr. Dieuwertje van der Does is Programme Manager for the OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre spanning the University of Cambridge, the John Innes Centre, and the Earlham Institute. Dieuwertje has a broad overview of OpenPlant research activities and has a coordinating role to build new synergies and increase the impact of the centre. Previously, she obtained her PhD in the Netherlands and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich on a long-term EMBO fellowship. During this time, she studied the plant immune system. Before joining OpenPlant, Dieuwertje spent two years at the BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi, Kenya, where she was Programme Leader for the 2Blades Foundation to aid the implementation of biotechnological solutions to crop diseases in East Africa. Dieuwertje is eager to build a strong and well-connected research consortium and accelerate the implementation of synthetic biology innovations in the real world.
Hilary runs London based not-for-profit SocietyInside. The name is a riff on the famous brand ‘IntelInside’ and indicates the aspiration that innovation should have the values, needs and concerns of society at its heart - not scientific kudos or the desire simply to make money.
She works with policymakers, business, civil society groups and academia to explore how this can be achieved in practice - particularly through new joint approaches to trustworthy governance; public and stakeholder involvement in technology development and application - as well as acting as a sounding board & critical friend.
She is the co-chair of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Values, Ethics and Innovation and active in the WEF global multi-stakeholder Biotech Dialogue. She serves on the Governance Sub-Group of the UK Synthetic Biology Leadership Council; the EAB the Centre for Synbio & fine chemicals and H2020 Project PRISMA exploring Responsible Innovation in Industry.
Academic Founder, CytoSeek
Adam Perriman is an Associate Professor of Biomaterials at the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Bristol. He is internationally distinguished for his pioneering research on the construction and study of novel synthetic biomolecular systems. His interests are acutely interdisciplinary, built on the solid foundations of fundamental science, and span the fields of chemistry, synthetic biology and regenerative medicine. In 2015, he was named a Wellcome Trust's Frontiers Innovator, and in 2016, he received the British Biophysical Society Young Investigator's Award and Medal. In 2017, he founded the cell therapy spinout, CytoSeek.
Founder and CEO, LabGenius
James is founder and CEO of LabGenius, a venture-backed synthetic biology company that's on a mission to harness evolution using AI.
James completed his PhD at Imperial College London where he developed a platform for targeted drug delivery using re-engineered protein nanocages. Prior to his PhD, James completed a BSc in Biology with Microbiology (1st Class) and an MRes in Systems and Synthetic Biology (Distinction), at Imperial College London.
James is an active member of the synthetic biology community having participated in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition as an undergraduate, advisor and judge.
In 2017, James was awarded the BBSRC Innovator of the Year award for early career impact. In 2018, James was featured on Forbes' 30 Under 30 list for Science & Healthcare. James is also a fellow of the prestigious Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program (LEAP).
CEO, Synthace Ltd
Tim is an experienced technology venture entrepreneur with an R&D background in both the physical and life sciences. Before joining Synthace he spent 7 years as Chief Operating Officer of CellCentric, a leading epigenetics drug discovery company. Prior to that he was Chief Technology Officer of Arrow Therapeutics and was co-founder and General Manager of DNA microarray tools company Oxford Gene Technology (Operations).
Before entering the commercial world Tim spent 13 years performing highly interdisciplinary research at the University of Oxford holding post-doctoral positions in three different departments (Biochemistry, Engineering and Materials). He has a D.Phil in Semiconductor Materials and an MBA from London Business School.
Tim is the Chairman of the UK BioIndustry Association’s Engineering Biology Advisory Committee and also a member of the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council co-chaired by The Rt Hon Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Professor Melanie Welham
Executive Chair, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
From 1 April 2018, Professor Melanie Welham has been Executive Chair of BBSRC, part of UK Research and Innovation, and for two years prior to this she served as Interim Chief Executive of the Council. Melanie joined BBSRC in October 2012 as Director of Science, initially on secondment from the University of Bath.
At the University of Bath Melanie was is a leading researcher in molecular signalling and stem cell science and was the first woman to be appointed a professor in her department. She obtained her first degree in Biochemistry from Imperial College London before undertaking a PhD at UCL.
Melanie has a well-developed understanding of the requirements and demands of catalysing, supporting and delivering BBSRC research, especially at the interface between the Council and the research and innovation community. Earlier in her career she was awarded a BBSRC Research Development Fellowship and for more than four years she served on BBSRC peer review committees, including periods as either chair or co-chair. Professor Welham also served on the advisory committee for the UK National Stem Cell Network from 2009-11. She is currently a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Human Frontiers Science Program Organisation. In her current role, alongside leadership of BBSRC, Melanie has particular responsibility, with Innovate UK Executive Chair, for the delivery of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
Sir Roland Jackson
Research Associate, UCL
Roland Jackson has a background in bioscience research, leading to a career focused on science education, public involvement in science and technology, and science-related policy, in posts including Head of the Science Museum, CEO of the British Science Association, and Executive Chair of Sciencewise. He has been a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, the Management Board of the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst, and chair of the Science in Society Panel for the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
Roland works currently on the history, policy and ethics of science and technology, as a visiting fellow at the Royal Institution, a research associate in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at UCL, and a senior associate of Involve.
Co-founder & CEO, Higher Steaks
Benjamina is the CEO of London-based food tech start-up Higher Steaks, which she co-founded in 2017. Previously, Benjamina co-founded a London-based B2B electronics company where she was involved in a wide range of activities including marketing, sales and customer & supplier management. Benjamina has also worked at Israeli 3D printing company, Stratasys, where she was one of the three scientists who solved a solidification problem in the additive manufacturing materials. Benjamina has also worked at a digital marketing division of PepsiCo's joint venture with Strauss and was the lead developer in Unibuddy, an ed-tech startup. Benjamina holds a Master of Chemical Engineering from the Imperial College, where she completed a project focusing on the design of a peptide plant, conducting lab-based research on synthesis and liquid exfoliation of graphitic carbon nitride.
Founder & CEO, Arborea
Julian is an engineer and innovator recognized by Forbes as a leading social entrepreneur under 30 years of age. He has received several excellence awards, Peres Heritage Award for Social and Technological Innovation, British Land Emerging Talent Medal, Material Innovation Award from the Clothworkers’ Foundation, Best Innovation Award from Innovation RCA. Julian is the CEO of Arborea, a company that uses novel biological and chemical engineering technology platforms to produce the most sustainable and healthy food ingredients to help food producers build a food system where everyone eats well.
Eleonora Mantovani is an Associate at RebelBio. RebelBio is the London based pre-seed venture capital program of the venture capital firm SOSV. RebelBio focuses on investing in BioTech, HealthTech and Life Sciences early stage companies.
Eleonora focuses on investor relationships for RebelBio, supporting portfolio companies in their fundraising efforts. She also involved in the sourcing and selection process of new investment opportunities.
Prior to joining RebelBio, Eleonora worked as a consultant in Munich for FEV Consulting, strategy consultancy boutique specialized in the automotive sector.
Italian, she graduated with honours at the MSc in International Management from the University of Bologna. Her thesis project researched Innovation Ecosystems and spin-off practices of scientific and knowledge-intensive universities.
UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology
Dr Liz Fletcher
Manager , UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology
Liz Fletcher is currently the manager of the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology based in Edinburgh. She has worked mainly in the life sciences sector in roles as postdoctoral researcher, senior scientist in the biotech industry, science and business writer and editor, technology transfer professional in academia and the NHS, and Life Sciences Executive at Scottish Enterprise. Liz has a PhD in Neuropharmacology from the University of London and a Diploma in Science Communication from Birkbeck College.
Industrial Strategy Science & Innovation
Chi Onwurah MP
Shadow Minister, Industrial Strategy Science & Innovation
Chi Onwurah MP is the Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central and is also Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy Science & Innovation.
From Sept 2015 - Oct 2016 Chi was Shadow Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy. From Jan 2013 - Sept 2015 Chi was Shadow Cabinet Office Minister leading on cyber security, social entrepreneurship, civil contingency, open government and transparency. From Oct 2010 – Jan 2013 Chi was Shadow Minister for Innovation, Science & Digital Infrastructure working closely with the Science and business community, with industry on Broadband issues, and on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.
Prior to Chi’s election to Parliament in May 2010, she worked as an electrical engineer in hardware and software development, product management, market development and strategy for a variety of mainly private sector companies in a number of different countries – UK, France, US, Nigeria, Denmark. Chi is a Chartered Engineer with a BEng in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College London and an MBA from Manchester Business School.
Founder and CCO, Nuclera Nucleics
Jiahao co-founded Nuclera, a Cambridge-based company building a benchtop gene and genome synthesis instrument using enzymatic DNA synthesis technologies and a novel liquid handling platform. He is currently the Chief Commercial Officer responsible for developing Nuclera’s commercial applications. Jiahao holds a BSc from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Cambridge.
3F BIO Ltd
Technical Director, 3F BIO Ltd
Paul is a molecular biologist and biochemical engineer with experience working for large corporates, SMEs and in publicly funded organisations, all of which bring their unique challenges! He is increasingly interested in the economics and business models employed in the bioeconomy and is currently working to commercialise a novel, zero waste process for the production of mycoprotein as Technical Director of 3F BIO Ltd. Here he leads the development and piloting activities and will oversee the scale-up of the process during 2019/20. When he’s not working Paul lives in a rural village to the west of Glasgow with his wife, two excitable young sons and an equally excitable labradoodle named Jackson!
Knowledge, Technology & Innovation group, Wageningen University
Prof Phil Macnaghten
Professor, Knowledge, Technology & Innovation group, Wageningen University
Phil Macnaghten is a Professor in the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation (KTI) group at Wageningen University. His PhD is from Exeter and he has held appointments at Lancaster, Durham and Campinas before joining Wageningen in 2015. His research background is in science and technology studies (STS) and sociology. His research background is in science and technology studies (STS) and sociology. He has worked in the science and society field on a series of science and technology controversies, notably: GM food and crops, transgenic animals, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, geoengineering, fracking and most recently CRISPR. He has developed in-depth qualitative methodologies for researching controversial technologies which, in turn, have informed policy approaches to dialogue and public engagement, including frameworks of responsible Innovation. His current research focuses on responsible innovation, gene editing and gene drives.
Carly is a technology journalist with particular interests in scientific research. She has written about diverse topics including artificial intelligence used in investment firms, quantum technologies beyond computers, "smart" biotech research labs, and venture capitalists investing in recreational tech for the elderly. Most recently Carly was a senior reporter at Sifted, a publication which spun out of the Financial Times in February 2019 to focus on European innovation and startups. As of June 2019, she is focusing on freelance science and technology writing.
Before becoming a journalist Carly did postgraduate research at Oxford University in "mathematical philosophy", using Bayesian theory to analyse the impact of social interaction on groups making decisions or undertaking research together. Her undergraduate degree was in both Physics and Philosophy.
Global Helix LLC
CEO and Founder, Global Helix LLC
Rick Johnson is the CEO and founder of Global Helix LLC, an STI strategy and thought leadership firm, and Senior Partner Emeritus at Arnold & Porter LLP, Washington DC.
Johnson has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Board on Life Sciences, numerous NAS National Committees, and U.S. co-chair of the Six Academies Synthetic Biology initiative. His current interests include: (i) synthetic biology/engineering biology; (ii) bioeconomy strategies; (iii) emerging technologies and the Next Production Revolution; (iv) university-business-industry innovation; and (v) compute-SemiSynBio.
Rick is the Chair of the OECD/BIAC Technology & Innovation Committee, the Brown Biology & Medicine Council, and the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) Policy and International group. Johnson now serves as a Board Director of: (i) the EBRC; (ii) the iGEM Foundation; and (iii) the Stanford Biofab and BioBricks Foundation. For many years, Rick served on the MIT Corporation Committee, U.S. national commissions and task forces, and the NAS Synthetic Biology Forum. He now is helping to create the Global Alliance of Biofoundries.
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 graduate degree from MIT where he was a National Science Foundation National Fellow, and his undergraduate degree with highest honours from Brown University
Ben is a bioengineer and CTO of CustoMem. He completed his MA in biological sciences at the University of Cambridge and a PhD in the Ellis Lab at Imperial College where his research focused on engineering non-model organisms for biomaterials production. He was a member, then supervisor, of two award-winning iGEM teams. He has seven publications and two patents in the areas of synthetic biology and bio-based materials.
CEO & Co-founder, FabricNano
Grant Aarons is a former Economics PhD at London Business School where he taught microeconomics, markets and econometrics. Grant has studied systems engineering and developed the mathematical modelling behind the nowcasting platform released by the Federal Reserve in New York; cited by the FT & Bloomberg.
The Financial Times
Executive Editor and Section Chief of Day Production , The Financial Times
Lyndsey Jones is executive editor and section chief of day production at The Financial Times in London. She has played a leading role in the digital transformation of the FT. She has led successful mergers of teams and been a key member of the senior editorial management team delivering changes to working practices to maintain the gold standard of FT journalism in print and online. She has also had a vital role in streamlining editorial operations, reshaping the newsroom to focus on digital first publishing, while taking a more disciplined and simplified approach to the print editions.
University of Manchester
Professor of Innovation Management, University of Manchester
Philip Shapira is Professor of Innovation Management and Policy with the Manchester Institute for Innovation Research, Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK, and Professor of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA. He is internationally recognised for research, engagement and policy leadership in the fields of science and technology, innovation management, manufacturing strategies, emerging technologies, and responsible innovation. Prof. Shapira is Lead for Responsible Research and Innovation with the Manchester Synthetic Biology Research Centre for Fine and Speciality Chemicals. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Oxford Genetics Ltd
CEO and Founder, Oxford Genetics Ltd
Ryan founded Oxford Genetics in 2011 to develop technologies that streamline the discovery, development and manufacture of complex biologics, including cell, gene and protein therapies. He has led the company as CEO for the last 8 years and is passionate about technologies that enable more targeted and cost-effective treatments. Ryan has a first-class degree in Genetics and a Ph.D. from Oxford University.
Dr Clare Trippett
Technology and Innovation Officer, CPI
Clare is a Technology and Innovation Officer at CPI and leads the development and implementation of technology and innovation activities for CPI Biologics. Clare has a PhD in molecular microbiology and an MSc in industrial biotechnology from Newcastle University, and also holds a certificate in synthetic biology from MITx. Clare has over 15 years of industrial experience in biotechnology and biotherapeutics, and has extensive experience in multiple aspects of molecular biology, microbiology and analytical science. Prior to her role as Technology and Innovation Officer Clare led the analytical team at CPI Biologics and was responsible for overseeing the delivery of technical aspects of multiple projects. Clare has also previously held a senior scientist role at Volac International, where she was responsible for setting up the company’s molecular biology capabilities and leading the implementation of new methods for novel product discovery.
Dr Ian Fotheringham
Managing Director, Ingenza Ltd.
Ian Fotheringham received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK in 1986. He then joined the NutraSweet division of Monsanto in Chicago, USA, engineering microbes to produce the Aspartame® sweetener, in one of the first and largest scale successes of synthetic biology and enzyme evolution. In 2003 he co-founded Ingenza, (Edinburgh, UK) now a leading Industrial Biotechnology and SynBio company. Ingenza provides next-generation manufacturing technologies to industries worldwide, focussed on sustainable fermentation based processes. These proprietary technologies are currently enabling viable bioprocess commercialisation for 3 new UK SMEs in antimicrobials, blood factors and cancer diagnostics. Ingenza’s expertise in protein production, strain improvement, fermentation, high throughput screening and synthetic chemistry is being implemented with partners worldwide to manufacture chemicals, plastics, animal feed, natural and consumer products, next generation fuels and GMP compliant peptide/protein pharmaceuticals.
Royal College of Art
Head of Programme for Fashion, Royal College of ArtZowie Broach is Head of Programme for FASHION RCA and after arriving 5 years ago has radically changed the paradigm of what it means today to consider how we might design in FASHION. Zowie previously co-founded the label BOUDICCA who was the first independent British Label to show during Couture, Paris, as well as exhibiting at Chicago Arts Institute, Tel Aviv Museum and their Invisible City collection AW04 is part of the permanent collection of The Metropolitan in New York, Kensington Palace and FIT. She has consulted for Honda, Cartier and Jaguar. BOUDICCA, the first ever fashion show to be live streamed back in 2004, continued to investigate the digital interface as a tool, an exploration of identity and material, with a fellowship at The Stanley Picker Gallery 2014 that echoed the virtual worlds of computer gaming – ‘The Liquid Game’ an immersive audio-visual installation.
Whilst at the RCA Fashion has established a new series of platforms – Futures Systems, Sports as Identity, Mixed Realities and Bio as Design that expands the practice of Fashion. This is not exclusive of values, economy and philosophy of self; taking on board the myriad of potentials that need investigating to assure a practice that can reveal and express the question of identity for our future. Fashion has recently worked with Intelligent Mobility collaborating with Porsche, and Design Directions with Microsoft; had the first Fashion designers to be supported by Innovation RCA and Fashion Bio design with the Onassis Fellowship in Athens and Open Cell in London. Zowie Broach has been voted into the top 500 Fashion Leaders, Business of FASHION for the last 4 years.
Chief Scientific Officer and Cofounder, Synthace Ltd
Markus co-founded Synthace after working as a Research Associate in Synthetic Biology at University College London where he developed novel biosynthesis methods using pathway engineering. Prior to UCL, he was a Biotransformation Scientist at Novacta Biosystems working as part of the industrial biotechnology group that conducted more than 90 contract research projects for over 20 clients. Markus has a PhD in Plant Biochemistry from Durham.
Dr Ted Fjallman is the CEO of Prokarium, a London-based biotech focusing on targeted oral vaccines and microbial immunotherapy. Prior to joining Prokarium, Ted held a clinical research position at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and has worked as a strategy consultant at Sweden’s Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences, where he coordinated the country’s national innovation strategy. He is also committed to promoting science and innovation in society and in 2009 Ted became one of the 45 finalists out of 8300 European Astronaut Selection candidates.
Ted holds a PhD from the University of Guelph, Canada, and has been recognised as a leader in synthetic biology under the Sloan Foundation and SynbiCITE funded Synthetic Biology Leadership Accelerator Program (LEAP). He is a member of the international Bacterial Vaccines Network (BactiVac) management board, as well as an active member of the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA).
Prokarium is a venture-backed biotech company with programmes focused on global health and innovation including vaccines against enteric fever, Chlamydia trachomatis and Yersinia pestis, the latter being developed with the UK government. The synthetic biology platform, which has been safely tested in 10 clinical trials in 471 volunteers, is also being evaluated as a microbial immunotherapy targeting technology for solid tumours.
Dr. Rebecca Nugent
Director, Synthetic Biology Research, Twist Bioscience
Dr. Rebecca Nugent joined Twist Bioscience after spending many years in the biofuels and green chemicals industry. Dr. Nugent leads R&D teams at Twist Bioscience focused on the development of the next generation synthetic biology and next-generation sequencing target enrichment (NGS TE) products. Dr. Rebecca Nugent received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Southern California, where she studied yeast genetics with an emphasis on genomic stability in Dr. Susan Forsburg’s lab. During her postdoctoral fellowship she developed life science tools through characterizing and engineering novel Restriction Enzymes at New England Biolabs.
Natsai Audrey Chieza
Founder & Director, Faber Futures
Natsai Audrey Chieza is a designer, change-maker, and TED speaker working at the intersection of creative and biotechnology industries. She is Founder and Director of Faber Futures, a London-based biodesign lab that is catalysing the alignment of DNA-scale engineering with the methods and principles of critical design thinking for the circular economy. In her 2017 TED Talk, Natsai offers a glimpse into the future of a synthetic biology industry primed to transform the creation and circulation of goods and services. Her manifesto lays out how this emerging technology converges with craft and interacts with the contemporary realities of resource scarcity, climate change, and sustainable development.
Natsai’s pioneering design-driven practice with bacteria pigments for sustainable textile finishing has been exhibited at prestigious institutions internationally and sits in permanent collections including at the Forbes Pigment Collection at Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge MA. She is on the founding and curatorial team of Ginkgo Bioworks’ Ginkgo Creative Residency in Boston MA. She regularly speaks internationally including at SXSW, Synbiobeta, and Biofabricate, and has taught on biodesign programmes at Bartlett School of Architecture and Central Saint Martins in London. In 2018 Natsai was an honoree of OkayAfrica’s 100 Women 2018 for her work in STEM.
Founder and CEO, SynBioBeta
John Cumbers is the founder and CEO of SynBioBeta, a global innovation network and community of entrepreneurs, thought-leaders and investors. He is the co-author of "What's Your Bio Strategy?" a book on the impact that synthetic biology is having on all business.
John has been consulting to leading companies and investors on the impact of synthetic biology for over a decade. He has received multiple awards and grants from NASA and the National Academy of Sciences for his work in the field.
John worked at NASA for seven years on issues around resource utilization, extremophiles, and sustainable technologies. He was instrumental in starting NASA’s programs in synthetic biology and planetary sustainability.
John has been involved in multiple start-ups such as those producing food for space, microbes to extract lunar resources, and hoverboards! He is an active investor in next-generation biotechnologies through the DCVC SynBioBeta Fund.
John holds an MS in bioinformatics from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in molecular biology from Brown University.
A super connector, John has devoted himself to helping those around him connect into the synthetic biology ecosystem and gain the resources that they need to break through scientific and commercial boundaries and see their innovations applied in the real world.
Professor Richard Kitney
Professor Kitney has been working at the forefront of synthetic biology and has been pivotal in shaping its development in the UK and internationally since 2003.
He has championed synthetic biology to governments, industry, learned societies and the public. Kitney is globally recognised as pioneering in the field. Dick has been a leader of UK R&D and the translation of synthetic biology for more than a decade, promoting global synthetic biology developments.
As Chair of The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Inquiry into Synthetic Biology and a member of the UK’s Ministerial Synthetic Biology Leadership Council, Dick has driven the UK’s approach to the field and the technology, its development and its translation into industrially useful products, tools, processes and services - alongside educating future synthetic biologists. In addition to The Royal Academy of Engineering Inquiry Report (Synthetic biology – Scope, Applications and Implications, 2009), he is one of the authors of the two, subsequent, UK roadmaps for synthetic biology (A Synthetic Biology Roadmap for the UK, 2012; and Bio Design for the Bio Economy, 2016).
Dick Co-Directs the UK’s first R&D centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation (CSynBI) and the UK’s National Industrial Translation Centre for Synthetic Biology (SynbiCITE).
He gives many keynote presentations at public lectures and international conferences – recently the IET Kelvin Lecture and the City and Guilds Fellowship Lecture.
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Opentrons
Kristin is a biologist, robot whisperer, community builder, and open science enthusiast who believes that everyone is a stakeholder in biotechnology. She is currently the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Opentrons, and previously worked at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She recently completed the Mozilla Open Leaders Fellowship with her team and is a current Global Community Biology Fellow through MIT Media Lab's Community Biotechnology Initiative. She is a warrior in the movement towards a better, more open, more collaborative scientific future and both a citizen and a leader in the scientific community.
Co-founder & Creative Director , PILI
Marie-Sarah is a designer formerly trained in biology. She is the creative director of a biotechnology company she co-founded: PILI, which develops renewable dyes from microorganisms, as an alternative to petrochemical dyes. She also teaches in design schools where she introduces students to biology and biotechnologies in order to bring these cutting-edge research fields new scenarios, imaginaries as well as debates. Committed to creating links between innovations and know-hows, she is a member of the Académie des savoir-faire of the Hermès Foundation, on a special year dedicated to Textile. She is also a member of the artistic and scientific board of La Chaire Arts et Sciences (École Polytechnique, Ensad, PSL, Fondation Carasso).
Software Engineer, LabGenius
Staffan joined LabGenius after working as an Embedded Software Engineer and Scrum Master for Volvo Group in Sweden.
He has also been a consultant for Sigma Technology, developed consumer electronics and has co-founded a tech startup. Staffan has a BSc in Mechatronics Engineering which he acquired from Halmstad University in Sweden and MNSU in the United States.
At LabGenius, Staffan leads the automation efforts by scaling processes while ensuring excellent data quality.
On the weekend Staffan enjoys big breakfasts, strong coffee and exploring new ideas.
Professor Paul Freemont
Paul has been working at the forefront of international synthetic biology developments since 2002 and has played a key role in developing from the outset the UK strategy for synthetic biology research, innovation and training.
A leading figure in synthetic biology, he has played a key part in the development of synthetic biology in the UK and was a co-author of the British Government’s UK Synthetic Biology Roadmap. Paul has been a passionate advocate for synthetic biology research and translation both in Europe and internationally and has participated as a technical expert in the United Nations Convention for Biological Diversity and Biological Weapons Convention. He is also a working group member of the US NIST synthetic biology standards consortium.
Paul’s research interests span from understanding the molecular mechanisms of human diseases and infection to the development of synthetic biology platform technologies and biosensors and he is the author of over 170 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He gives many lectures both at international scientific meetings and also public lecture - the most recent being the Ellison-Cliffe medal lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine.
Paul co-founded and co-directs the UK’s first academic research centre for synthetic biology at Imperial College London (CSynBI) and the first R&D centre for synthetic biology SynbiCITE.
Paul is also very active in public engagement including numerous public debates - the most recent at the Royal Institution and public displays including at the Science Museum and the first ‘pop-up’ lab at the Victoria and Albert Museum. He is also an advocate for training young people and talks regularly at schools and has successfully co-supervised Imperial undergraduate iGEM teams since 2006.
Dr. Stephanie Wallis
CSO & Co-founder, Higher Steaks
Dr. Stephanie Wallis is constantly searching for novel scientific solutions to big problems. Her curiosity for undiscovered scientific areas led her to study Neuroscience BSc (King’s College London) before Stem Cells and Regeneration MSc (University of Bristol). After realising her life goal to solve problems that affect large populations of people using innovative science, she focused her PhD (University of Bristol) on the development of novel human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neuron models of Alzheimer’s disease to support pharmaceutical discovery programmes. Inspired by her upbringing within an entrepreneurial family, she has always been enthused by traction and innovation in business. Prior to her PhD, she worked as a business development manager for a biotech start-up specialising in innovative in vitro bioincubator systems. She has also worked as an independent business development and marketing contractor for biotech companies and has experience working with a consulting company focused on establishing new business relationships between the UK and Asian biotech industries.
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Lord Henley was appointed as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 27 October 2017.
He was a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions from 21 December 2016 to 15 June 2017, and a Lord in Waiting (Government Whip) from 21 November 2016 to 15 June 2017.
He is a Conservative member of the House of Lords.
Lord Henley served as Minister of State for Crime Prevention and Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction from September 2011 to September 2012. He served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2010 to 2011.
Lord Henley held a number of positions in the previous Conservative government, including Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Social Security, the Department for Employment and the Ministry of Defence. He was also Minister of State for the Department of Education and Employment. In Opposition, he served as Chief Whip, Deputy Speaker and was Opposition spokesperson for Legal Affairs and Justice.
He was educated at Clifton College, Bristol and Durham University. He was called to the Bar in 1977.
Touchlight Genetics Ltd
Chief Scientific Officer , Touchlight Genetics Ltd
After receiving his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Zürich, Switzerland, Prof. Linden trained in Molecular Virology at Cornell University Medical College, N.Y. After his postdoctoral training he joined the faculty at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, where he used a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the molecular mechanisms and the potential applicability of site-specific genome integration by adeno-associated virus (AAV). In 2007, he moved continents to set up a new research group at King’s College London as the chair in Molecular Virology.
His contributions to the field include the biochemical and structural determination of the AAV Rep proteins, which orchestrate all aspects of the AAV life cycle, and the proposal of a mechanism of site-specific integration. During these studies Prof. Linden’s laboratory has demonstrated the potential of using embryonic stem cells for gaining insights into complex viral mechanisms.
Throughout his career, Prof. Linden has engaged in the field of AAV-mediated gene therapy including a role as the Director of the UCL Gene Therapy Consortium where he was responsible for clinical-grade vector production and the support for further developments in UK based gene therapy efforts. In this context, Prof. Linden was actively engaged in translational projects aimed at the development of novel therapies using AAV-based vectors.
In December 2014 Prof. Linden joined Pfizer Inc as the Vice President of Gene Therapy, to establish and lead the Genetic Medicine Institute in London. He held this position until August 2017. Since November 2018 Dr. Linden is the Chief Scientific Officer at Touchlight Genetics Ltd. in London, UK.
Co-founder & Director, Ambimass Ltd
Simon Cameron is a group leader (Vice Chancellor’s Fellow) at Queen’s University Belfast within the Institue for Global Food Security. His specialisms lie within microbiology and mass spectrometry and other ‘omic technologies which his research applies to areas across clinical microbiology, metabolomics, and food analysis. In 2019, along with Zoltan Takats and Alvaro Perdones-Montero from Imperial College London, Simon co-founded Ambimass Ltd which offers rapid evaporative ionisation mass spectrometry – a technique which requires no sample preparation nor extraction – to customers who need to overcome screening bottlenecks in terms of scaling, time, and cost within their product development workflows.
SYNBIOCHEM and FBRH
Dr Ros Le Feuvre
Director of Operations, SYNBIOCHEM and FBRH
Ros is responsible for the strategic operational management of the Manchester Synthetic Biology Research Centre, SYNBIOCHEM and the Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub hosted by the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester. She has significant experience coordinating large collaborative research programmes. With a research background in biological sciences, she has led many interdisciplinary and industry-focused events and supported major multi-partner research grants with international and industrial partners.
Green Biologics Ltd
Chief Executive Officer, Green Biologics Ltd
Sean Sutcliffe has served as Chief Executive of Green Biologics since April 2008, contributing to the company extensive commercial and operational experience across the energy and renewables sector. Prior to joining Green Biologics he was from 2005 Chief Executive of Biofuels Corporation, a UK based biodiesel producer, and from 2007 Chairman of Tidal Generation Limited, a developer of tidal stream devices. Previously Sean worked for BG Group Plc. for 14 years in a variety of roles spanning operations, business development and strategy, most recently as Executive Vice President with responsibility for Corporate Development and New Businesses. Sean is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with an Engineering degree from Cambridge University and a non-executive director of Keit Spectrometers, a company commercialising instruments for manufacturing industries.
Co-founder & Director, OpenCell.bio
Dr Thomas Meany, co-founder and director at OpenCell.bio. Thomas has held an interdisciplinary fellowship in the University of Cambridge Plant Science Department studying applications of technology in synthetic biology. Prior to working in biotechnology, he developed semiconductor circuits in the quantum information group at Toshiba's Cambridge Research Labs. He holds a PhD in applied physics and engineering.
CEO and co-founder, Phytoform Labs
Will is dedicated to improving the global food system by improving current crop plants and by developing alternatives. He is the CEO and co-founder of Phytoform Labs, a biotechnology company that uses high throughput genome editing to introduce better traits into crops as a service. Phytoform Labs have pioneered a novel genome editing tool in plants DNA-free for the first time as well as developing a platform for high throughput plant genome editing. Will founded Phytoform Labs after joining the SynbiCITE Lean Launchpad program during his PhD at Imperial College London.
Investment Director, UKI2S
Oliver Sexton joined UKI2S in April 2014 to manage the Fund’s engineering biology investments. Since joining the fund he has invested in over 15 companies from foundation to series A and is an active board member of many. Most recently the fund exited one of its founding investments, Quethera which was acquired by Astellas.
Prior to joining Midven, Oliver managed commercialisation of bioengineering and medical technologies at Imperial Innovations. Earlier in his career he held commercial and partnering roles at Ark Therapeutics and managed a team of biotech buy-side analysts and worked at a pharma strategy consultancy.
Oliver has a BSc in Molecular Biology/Biotechnology and an MSc in Plant Science from Bristol University.
Head, Synthetic Biology, Syngenta
Jason is Head of Synthetic Biology in Syngenta’s Global R&D organisation, leading cross-disciplinary projects and external collaborations to develop innovative solutions for agriculture. Jason has driven the use of biotechnology in Syngenta’s Crop Protection R&D pipeline, and has led the integration and development of new technology platforms for RNAi and Synthetic Biology. Experienced in leading techno-commercial projects, Jason supports corporate due diligence and venture capital exercises for Syngenta. He also serves on Scientific and External Advisory Boards for a number of start-ups and academic research centres, and is a member of the UK Synthetic Biology Leadership Council.
CEO and Co-founder, Theolytics
Charlotte believes in the development of highly effective, widely accessible therapeutics to empower people with their health. She is the CEO and Co-founder of Theolytics - a pre-clinical biotech company harnessing viruses to fight cancer - in addition to being a Board Member of the UK Bioindustry Association.
Founder of Yarvie, and previously Director of New Medicine Partners, Charlotte has worked with organisations spanning three continents to translate novel life science technologies to the point of commercial viability. She graduated as a University of Cambridge Bioscience Enterprise M.Phil Scholar and was a shortlisted finalist for Cambridge Entrepreneur of the Year. She was the youngest listed 2016 nominee for MT’s 35 under 35 Award.
Co-founder and CTO, Phytoform Labs
Nicolas is a co-founder and CTO at Phytoform Labs an award-winning biotechnology start-up. The company is building a biotech platform rapidly developing novel high yielding crops, and works towards the future of agriculture. Nicolas completed his PhD studies at Imperial College London, where his research was focused on developmental biology, studying root morphogenesis under environmental stresses. Nicolas obtained a BSc in Biology with Microbiology and an MRes in Systems and Synthetic Biology, at Imperial College London. Being synthetic biology enthusiast, Nicolas participated in the 2011 iGEM competition as a team member and 2014 iGEM as an advisor.
Integrated DNA Technologies
Director of Business Development - Synthetic Biology, Integrated DNA Technologies
Elizabeth joined Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) as Director of Business Development for Synthetic Biology in March 2019. She has spent most of her career working with new DNA technologies particularly related to next-generation sequencing and DNA synthesis. Elizabeth’s previous experience within the Synthetic Biology community comes from over three years of global technical and strategic sales support of SynBio customers at high throughput DNA synthesis provider Gen9 (now Ginkgo). Elizabeth holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from MIT and a PhD in Human and Molecular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.
Dr Irina Haivas
Irina Haivas is a Principal. Based in London, she works on sourcing and due diligence of global investment opportunities.
Irina focuses on machine intelligence-enabled businesses, next-generation biology, robotics and other frontier technologies. She also focuses on companies in healthcare.
Before joining Atomico, Irina was a growth and PE investor at GHO Capital Partners, where she focused on the intersection of life sciences, health and technology, including AI/ML and enterprise software. Before that, Irina was part of the leadership team of Bain & Co. in Europe and the U.S., where she worked directly with pharmaceutical and medical technology companies on scale-ups, product development and commercialisation, business model innovation, M&A, and organisational development. While at Bain she seconded for a year in an operational role at Medtronic, one of the world’s largest medical device companies.
Irina is a former surgeon, having studied medicine at Freiburg University in Germany and Iasi Medical University in Romania. She was a surgical fellow at Harvard Medical School before completing an MSc (Dist) in International Health Policy at London School of Economics.
Irina speaks Romanian, English, advanced German, and conversational French.
Dr Andrew Phillips
Head of Bio Computation Group, Microsoft Research
Andrew Phillips leads the Biological Computation Group at Microsoft Research Cambridge, where he is developing methods and software for analysing and programming biological systems. Andrew received a postgraduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge, under a scholarship from the Barbados government. He pursued a PhD in the Department of Computing at Imperial College London, where he developed methods for specifying and implementing secure mobile applications. He joined Microsoft Research Cambridge in 2005, to conduct research at the intersection of programming language theory and biological modelling. In 2011 he received a Technology Review TR35 award for work on computer-assisted genetic engineering. The award recognises the world’s leading innovators under the age of 35.
Professor Joyce Tait
Co-Director, Innogen Institute
Joyce Tait has an interdisciplinary background linking natural and social sciences with particular interests in supporting the development of advanced innovative technologies capable of delivering both economic and societal benefits. She has worked on: strategic planning for innovation; governance, risk management, regulation and standards; and stakeholder attitudes and influences. An important current project is exploring how standards could contribute to making governance systems more proportionate and adaptive to the needs of advanced innovative technologies. Innovation areas covered by this research include: GM, synthetic biology and gene editing; genetic databases; pharmaceuticals and antimicrobial resistance; cell therapies and regenerative medicine; diagnostic devices; FinTech; and stratified and translational medicine.
Current appointments include: Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology; UK REF Interdisciplinary Research Advisory Panel; UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (and Chair of its Governance Subgroup); Governing Board of the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde; Innovation and Knowledge Centre, Imperial College, London.
Director and Co-Founder, Open Cell
Helene Steiner is a designer and engineer who works at the interface between technology and science. She co-founded Open Cell with the mission to provide affordable lab space to early-stage startups innovating at the intersection of design and biology. She is the co-founder of a biotech company, Cell-Free Technology, where she develops computational and biological design tools for proteins and materials, and leads the biomaterial platform at the fashion department at the Royal College of Art. She was previously a postdoc research fellow in Microsoft Research Cambridge where she developed biological interfaces. She has been hosted as a visiting research fellow in the Tangible Research group of the MIT Media Lab. She holds an MDes from the Bauhaus University, MA from the Royal College of Art and an MSc from Imperial College London. She has been awarded a Frontier of Science, Kavli Fellowship by the National Academy of Sciences and won over 22 international Awards.