SynbiTECH 2020 will bring together the most informed and passionate pioneers applying their ideas on synthetic biology.
Our speakers will be discussing a huge range of important topics including sustainability, biomaterials, transport, energy, food, DNA storage, biosecurity, investment and much, much more.
View the programme for more confirmed speakers!
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.
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
Chief Scientist, Shell
Jeremy was appointed Chief Scientist at Shell in March 2018. He has a particular focus on Biosciences, leading the company’s strategic thinking and innovation agenda in this area, especially at it pertains to the energy transition. Previously, he was General Manager of Shell’s Biodomain division where he led R&D on advanced biofuels and hydrogen in the Netherlands, USA, UK and India. He joined the company in 1986 and has held various commercial and technology management positions in the UK, Belgium, United Arab Emirates and Singapore, spanning a variety of Shell’s business including Chemicals, Lubricants, Product Safety, Fuels and New Energies. He has a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He sits on the UK government’s Innovation Strategy Board for the chemistry-using industries.
deputy CEO, CARBIOS
Martin Stephan joined CARBIOS early 2017. As deputy CEO, he is responsible for strategy, business development, investors relations and finance. CARBIOS, a French clean-tech company, listed on the French Euronext Growth stock exchange, have successfully achieved a 5 year and multi-million € collaborative R&D program and is now moving to industrialization with 2 disruptive biological innovations bringing solutions for the end-of-life of plastics, and in particular a process to infinitely recycle PET without any quality loss, opening the possibility to create a virtuous circular economy scheme.
Martin Stephan has made his entire career in the chemical industry. Prior to joining CARBIOS, he held several senior international positions at Du Pont de Nemours, Chemours and at the chemical branch of the French Oil & Gaz major, Total. He worked in France, Germany, Italy and in Switzerland, where he is currently resident.
Martin Stephan holds a Master in Business Economics from HEC in Paris and a BA in Economics from Paris II university.
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, Elasmogen Ltd
Caroline is CEO and co-founder of Elasmogen, a company that discovers and develops soloMER biologics for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancer. Before establishing Elasmogen, she successfully led teams at Wyeth and subsequently Pfizer in Global Bio-therapeutic Technologies progressing early platform technologies to late stage clinical development. Prior to this she was Alliance and Programs Manager at Haptogen Ltd and a key part of the acquisition team that successfully exited the business to Wyeth Inc. She has been awarded a prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship, is a doctoral graduate from the University of Aberdeen in Biochemistry and an MBA (distinction) from Robert Gordon’s University, Business School.
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.
Strategic Partnerships, Bioplatforms Australia
Dr. Natalie Curach brings together strategic partnerships between people, research facilities and business for innovations across the life sciences. Natalie has been at the forefront of the growth of Synthetic Biology in Australia commencing with the establishment of the Synthetic Biology Research Priority at Macquarie University and its management through a high growth period. Natalie was instrumental for the creation of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology and co-authored the Australian Government’s Synthetic Biology infrastructure investment plan. Natalie conducted her PhD on recombinant protein production in filamentous fungi and has a Grad Dip. in Management. She has worked in biotechnology research within university and government laboratories as well as a start-up before transitioning into project management and business development. Natalie currently serves as Co-Chair on the Global BioFoundry Alliance Steering Committee and President for Synthetic Biology Australasia.
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.
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.
Science Media Centre
CEO, Science Media Centre
Fiona has a degree in journalism and many years of experience working in media relations for high profile national organisations. Her career includes stints working for, amongst others, the Equal Opportunities Committee, the National Council for One Parent Families, and CAFOD (a leading aid agency). The founding director of the Science Media Centre when it was established in 2002, under Fiona’s leadership the Centre has become an indispensable resource for science journalists.
Fiona is a regular commentator on science in the media and was the only representative from the science community invited to give evidence at the Levenson Inquiry into press standards. She is an outspoken champion for openness in science and, as part of this, led a successful campaign for changes to the British Government’s purdah rules for scientists. She has received many accolades for her services to science, including an OBE, honorary fellowships of the Academy of Medical Science and British Pharmacology Society, and a special award for promoting openness in animal research.
Sir Patrick Vallance
Chief Scientific Adviser, UK Government
Sir Patrick Vallance FRS FMedSci FRCP is Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) and Head of the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) profession. His personal research was in the area of diseases of blood vessels and endothelial biology.
Patrick was President, R&D at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) from 2012 until 2017. Prior to this, he was Senior Vice President, Medicines Discovery and Development.
Prior to joining GSK, he was a clinical academic, Professor of Medicine and led the Division of Medicine at UCL. He has over 20 years’ experience of basic and clinical research, and was a consultant physician in the NHS.
He was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999 and to the Royal Society in 2017. He is an Honorary Fellow at UCL and holds honorary degrees from Imperial College London, Glasgow University, University of York and St George’s, University of London. He was a non-executive director and board member for UK Biobank and a non-executive board member for Genome Research Limited but stepped down in taking up the GCSA role.
Director of Technology & Operations, Oxford Biotrans
Matthew has a background in molecular biology and biochemistry, with a D.Phil from the University of Oxford. He subsequently worked at Mars & Co., consulting across a broad range of commercial engagements, including corporate and product strategy, commercial due diligence and valuation. He now heads up the research and operations teams at Biotrans.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Mary E. Maxon
Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
As Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences, Dr. Mary Maxon oversees 650+ people in three scientific research divisions and the DOE Joint Genome Institute. She believes that cultivating talent and promoting inclusion are central to the creation of a successful work environment driven by a diversity of partners working toward shared objectives. Dr. Maxon was Assistant Director for Biological Research at OSTP under President Obama. Previously, Dr. Maxon ran the Marine Microbiology Initiative and co-developed California Science and Technology Policy Fellows Program for the California Legislature at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Dr. Maxon’s policy experience also includes drafting the intellectual property policies for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Maxon received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Molecular Cell Biology and did postdoctoral research in biochemistry and genetics at UC San Francisco. Dr. Maxon’s research experience also includes working in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors.
Frontier Development, Spiber
David works at Spiber, the Japanese biomaterials company that launched the Moon Parka with the North Face Japan last year and is now scaling up the production of its fermented protein materials for applications ranging from apparel to automobile. David’s own journey in the synthetic biology industry trace back to iGEM, include work at Pam Silver’s lab at the Harvard Medical School, and have now led him to the other side of the world surrounded by rice fields in rural Japan. At Spiber’s Frontier Development Division, David is responsible for exploring novel applications of Spiber’s fermented structural protein materials and other innovations.
Managing Director, Bioeconomy Capital
Rob Carlson is the Managing Director of Bioeconomy Capital and is an Affiliate Professor in the Paul Allen School Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. At the broadest level, Dr. Carlson is interested in the future role of biology as a human technology. He developed new biological technologies in both academic and commercial environments, focusing on microfluidics and molecular information processing. Dr. Carlson has also developed a number of new technical and economic metrics for measuring the progress of biological technologies. Carlson is the author of the book Biology is Technology: The Promise, Peril, and New Business of Engineering Life, published in 2010 by Harvard University Press; it received the PROSE award for the Best Engineering and Technology Book of 2010 and was named to the Best Books of 2010 lists by writers at both The Economist and Foreign Policy. Carlson earned a doctorate in Physics from Princeton University in 1997. Additional writing and a weblog can be found at www.synthesis.cc.
Vice President of Safety and Security, iGEM Foundation
Piers D Millett, Ph.D. leads iGEM’s efforts to ensure that cutting edge biotechnology is used safely and securely. He is Vice-President for Safety and Security and chairs iGEM’s Safety and Security Committee. Dr. Millett is a certified biorisk management professional, with a specialisation in biosecurity.
Dr Millett was Deputy Head of the Implementation Support Unit for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), a treaty for which he worked for over a decade. He consults for the World Health Organization, supporting their integration of research and development into responses to public health emergencies and considering the health implications of advances in technology. Trained originally as a microbiologist, Piers works closely with the citizen science movement, synthetic biologists, the biotechnology industry as well as governments. His efforts have seen him collaborate with a range of intergovernmental organisations spanning health (human and animal), humanitarian law, disarmament, security, border control, law enforcement, and weapons of mass destruction – both inside and out of the United Nations system.
Piers holds a wide range of other appointments relevant to his work at iGEM, including as co-founder of Biosecure Ltd, a company dedicated to safeguarding the bioeconomy. He also holds fellowships with the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington D.C., where he researches pandemic and deliberate disease and the implications of biotechnology.
Director, Unnatural Selection
Leeor Kaufman is a documentary filmmaker and photographer. He recently created the Original Netflix documentary series Unnatural Selection. He also directed documentary content for publications such as Time Magazine, The New Yorker, NBC, CNN, NFL Network and many other international publications. Leeor started his career in Israel as a documentary filmmaker, producing and shooting short and feature length documentaries, among them the award-winning Destiny Hills produced by ARTE, the leading documentary channel in Europe. He has also taught as an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of Journalism and at the International Center of Photography in New York.
UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund
Chairman, UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund
Ian is a Strategic Advisor to Inmarsat plc, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, on preliminary UK efforts to create an alternative to the Galileo Satellite Navigation System as well as on preparations for SkyNet6. He also provides (long- distance) advice to the National Space Innovation Hub in Adelaide, Australia.
Ian chairs the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund, backed by government research councils. He is a founder-director of Living PlanIT which has developed a software platform for real-time data analysis and integration to enhance health and environmental outcomes in urban areas. Ian is Strategic Advisor to Nova Pangaea Limited, developer of a process for conversion of non-food biomass into environmentally friendly liquid fuels. He is an advisor to several other tech companies.
Ian Taylor was a UK Member of Parliament for 23 years until 2010 and Science, Innovation & Space Minister 1994-97. He chaired the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee, the Parliamentary Space Committee and in 2009 the European Inter- Parliamentary Space Group. In 2008, Ian gained the Sir Arthur C. Clarke Award for Individual Achievement in Promoting Space and Science.
He was Chairman of the Conservative Policy Task Force on Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics 2005-2009.
After leaving Parliament, Ian became an advisor to the ESA Integrated Applications Programme and was one of the former ESA DG’s independent group of 5 former Ministers from ESA Member States reporting on the Future of Space Activities in Europe (2011- 2015). From 2011-2018 he was on the Science & Technology Facilities Research Council; he also chaired the National Space Academy 2013-2018.
Deep Branch Biotechnology
Finance & Innovation Director, Deep Branch Biotechnology
I am a scientist-turned-Chartered Accountant with over 15 years working in the R&D sector. During my time at a Big Four firm, I developed a broad set of financial skills from roles in assurance, tax advisory and R&D incentives, culminating in a role as the UK Grant Specialist. My portfolio background as a grant recipient, auditor, proposal writer and assessor is enhanced by previous Innovation Policy work with the UK government, where I managed a £4m R&D grant programme.
My technical background is in life sciences and biotechnology, although I have worked across a range of sectors including renewable energies, ICT and engineering clients. I enjoy learning the technology underpinning the business finances which brings deeper insights into potential business opportunities. More recently, I set up my own innovation and finance consultancy business embracing the opportunity to work more closely with start ups before finally joining Deep Branch Biotechnology.
Director, Unnatural Selection
Joe Egender is a filmmaker and actor. He recently created the Original Netflix documentary series Unnatural Selection. Prior to that he directed the short documentary My Paintbrush Bites (DOC NYC) released by The Atlantic. Joe co-wrote and produced the feature film Holy Ghost People, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival. A few of his recent acting credits include roles on the HBO series The Night Of, FX’s American Horror Story, and the Ansel Elgort sci-fi film Jonathan. Joe has been a big brother in the Big Brother Big Sister of America program for over 12 years and was named the California Big Brother of the Year.
Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge
Professor Sir David King
Founder, Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge
The UK’s prominent thought leader, policy adviser and campaigner on the causes and consequences of climate change. Founder and guiding force of academic and pragmatic research initiatives that have resulted in meaningful improvements in climate change science and action. A highly effective diplomat, driving change in environmental and societal practices at a corporate, national and international level.
- Author of 500 plus research papers
- Recipient of 23 honorary degrees
- Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing
- Master of Downing College, Cambridge (1995-2000)
- Head of Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge (1993-2000)
Founder, Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge
- Established (and currently coordinating) a research centre to investigate and develop new ways to repair the Earth’s climate.
Climate Envoy, UK Foreign Secretary’s Permanent Representative for Climate Change
- Conducted over 90 official country diplomatic missions, educating and lobbying governments ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, 2015 (COP21);
- Led the in-depth risk analysis, ‘Climate Change: A Risk Assessment (2015)’, for the governments of India and China;
- Initiated the research programme that became Mission Innovation, a $23bn per annum research and development programme, involving 22 countries, into finding technologies to transition the global economy from fossil fuels.
Founding Director, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
- Engaged the private sector in transitioning away from a fossil fuel-based economy.
Chief Scientific Advisor, UK Government
- Chaired the Foresight Programme and the Global Science and Innovation Forum, both of which led to an 80% emissions reduction commitment via the UK Climate Change Act 2008, and to increased flood risk management.
HONOURS AND AWARDS
- Officier, Légion d’Honneur (2009)
- Honorary Fellow, Royal Academy of Engineering (2006) Knight Bachelor (2003)
- Rumford Medal (2002)
- Fellow of the Royal Society (1991)