International, world-leading experts from across science, engineering and technology

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

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 

Headline speakers

Hagan Bayley Professor Hagan Bayley
Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Hagan Bayley

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.


Rich Johnson Rick Johnson
Global Helix LLC
Rich Johnson

Rick Johnson

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 

Zowie Broach Zowie Broach
Royal College of Art
Zowie Broach

Zowie Broach

Head of Programme for Fashion, Royal College of Art

Zowie 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.

Richard Kitney Professor Richard Kitney
Richard Kitney

Professor Richard Kitney

Co-Director, SynbiCITE

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.

Paul Freemont Professor Paul Freemont
Paul Freemont

Professor Paul Freemont

Co-Director, SynbiCITE

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.

Michael linden Michael Linden
Touchlight Genetics Ltd
Michael linden

Michael Linden

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. 

PROF.  HAMADI IDDI BOGA Prof Hamadi Iddi Boga
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.

Mike Biddle Mike Biddle
Innovate UK
Mike Biddle

Mike Biddle

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.

Melanie Welham Professor Melanie Welham
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Melanie Welham

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.