SynbiTECH Virtual 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!
Antheia, Inc. Keynote
CEO and Co-founder, Antheia, Inc.
Christina D. Smolke is CEO and Co-founder of Antheia, Inc. and Professor (Research) of Bioengineering at Stanford University. She earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Southern California in 1997 and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at UC Berkeley in 2001.
Dr. Smolke is a pioneer in the fields of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering. Her team led the breakthrough research to engineer baker’s yeast to produce some of the most complex and valuable plant-based medicines known to humankind, including the opioids, noscapinoids, and tropane alkaloids. At Antheia, her vision and leadership has enabled a synthetic biology platform that dramatically expands the diversity and complexity of molecules that can be reconstructed, enabling new possibilities for drug discovery as well as rapid, localized, on-demand drug manufacturing at scale.
Dr. Smolke’s impact in advancing the frontiers of biotechnology has been recognized with numerous awards, including Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator, Nature’s 10, AIMBE College of Fellows, NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, WTN Award in Biotechnology, and TR35 Award.
Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge Keynote
Professor Sir David King
Founder, Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge
Professor Sir David King is Founder and Chair of the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge; Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, University of Cambridge; an Affiliate Partner of SYSTEMIQ Limited; and Senior Strategy Adviser to the President of Rwanda. He served as Founding Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University, 2008 -2012, Head of the Department of Chemistry at Cambridge University, 1993-2000, and Master of Downing College Cambridge 1995-2000.
He was the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, 2000-2007, the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative on Climate Change, 2013-2017, and Chair of Future Cities Catapult, 2012-2016. He has travelled widely to persuade all countries to take action on climate change. He initiated an in-depth risk analysis approach to climate change, working with the Governments of China and India in particular, and initiated a collaborative programme, now known as Mission Innovation, to create a £23bn pa research and development international exercise, which involves 22 countries and the EC, to deliver all technologies needed to complete the transition into a fossil-fuel-free world economy.
He was born in Durban, educated at St John’s College Johannesburg and at Witwatersrand University, graduating in Chemistry and a PhD in physical chemistry. He has received 23 Honorary Degrees from universities around the world.
As Govt Chief Scientific Adviser he raised the need for governments to act on climate change and was instrumental in creating the British £1 billion Energy Technologies Institute. He created an in-depth futures process which advised government on a wide range of long term issues, from flooding to obesity. He was Member, the President’s Advisory Council, Rwanda, and Science Advisor to UBS, 2008-12.
He has published over 500 papers on surface science and catalysis and on science and policy, for which he has received many awards, medals etc. and 23 honorary degrees from universities around the world.
Elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991; Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002; knighted in 2003; made “Officier dans l’ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur” in 2009.
Bioeconomy Capital Keynote
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.
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.
Imperial College London
Chair in Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, Imperial College London
Paul is the Chair in Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine within the School of Public Health of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College. In addition, he is Head of Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Director of MRC Centre for Environment and Health; and Director of Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU). His key research interests include Environmental Epidemiology and small area health statistics; Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology; and population cohort studies.
Professor Elliott is the lead investigator on the REACT (Real Time Assessment of Community Transmission) study. This is the largest community COVID-19 testing programme in the UK. Swab tests are regularly carried out on more than 80,000 people out of a total of 150,000.
Tim Brears is CEO of Evonetix, a Cambridge-based company developing a radically different approach to gene synthesis – a highly parallel desktop platform to synthesise DNA at high accuracy, scale and speed. He previously served as CEO 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.
Tim currently serves as chair of the Engineering Biology Advisory Committee of the BIA and is a member of the UK’s Engineering Biology Leadership Council.
New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization
Senior Analyst, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization
Yoshiyuki Fujishima, D.Phil., is a Senior Analyst in Japan’s government funding agency New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). His role includes international policy information exchange in the area of Bioeconomy and Engineering Biology and general technology and innovation policies. He had worked in industrial association for 3 years and Ajinomoto Co., Inc. for over 20 years in the area of biotechnology R&D. He has knowledge in polymer chemistry, biology and has understanding in human nutrition and health science.
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.
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
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.
Managing Partner, Inflectix
Orhan completed his doctorate in Molecular Biology at Cambridge in 1999. What followed has been an exciting excursion into a diverse set of fields but has seen him return to his passion for the biosciences. He was responsible for the internet product group at UPC Europe during the roll out of broadband internet in the early 2000’s. From there, in no particular order, he rolled out new product lines to EMEA for a CISCO telecoms equipment provider, managed the update of account security at UCAS, ran his own software company which failed spectacularly, learned how to fly and designed a boardgame. More recently he has been working on two projects as Managing Director of G-SMATT Europe which delivers architectural media glass and Managing Partner of Inflectix a biosciences investment company. He also serves as a director in two US bioscience start-ups. In his spare time, he is learning how to drive a truck.
CTO, Bondi Bio
James is CTO of Bondi Bio, a Sydney-based bioengineering start-up that he co-founded in 2018. Bondi engineers cyanobacteria to produce traditionally plant-derived Natural Products from light, water and carbon dioxide.
James is an experienced genetic engineer, who has helped catalyse the emergence of Synthetic Biology on the national & international stage. Prior to founding Bondi, James was the architect of a new wet lab facility at world-leading technical-consultancy Cambridge Consultants. There he took the technical lead on a range of projects including HT characterisation platforms, cell-free sensing & DNA data-storage, culminating in the successful authorship of Wikipedia in DNA.
He has held roles with Microsoft Research, SABIC, and as Secretariat to the UK Government’s SBLC, where he supported the implementation of the UK’s Strategic Roadmap. He was an iGEM Ambassador during the formative years of the competition and was Principal Advisor to the Cambridge iGEM teams from 2007 through 2010, including the award-winning E. chromi team in 2009.
James holds a PhD, MA & MEng from the University of Cambridge.
Biosecurity Specialist, Inscripta
Beth Vitalis joined Inscripta in 2019 to help stand-up Biosecurity for the start-up company’s digital genome engineering platform. She and the company are committed to safe, responsible use of its technology and have prioritized a proactive strategy to identify and help prevent biorisk scenarios. Beth interacts with groups across the company to implement a multi-faceted biosecurity system, and she is enthusiastic to help engage the greater genome engineering community to collaboratively address biosecurity challenges and instill societal trust in our advancing technology.
After obtaining her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at UC San Francisco, Beth joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California where she led or contributed to various biorisk detection and characterization efforts including microbe evolution, synthetic biology risk assessment, and biothreat database development. She also has enjoyed graduate and undergrad biology teaching roles and participating in community science education events.
Chief Technology Officer, Linear Diagnostics
Matt Hicks co-founded Linear Diagnostics Limited (LDL) with Professor Tim Dafforn in 2011 as a spin-out from the University of Birmingham. It is based on more than 10 years’ research on the measurement of the interactions of biological molecules using polarised light. Matt 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.
Director of Vaccine Research, Touchlight Genetics
Dr Lisa Caproni was educated at the University of Edinburgh where she completed a BSc and PhD in the area of infectious diseases with her doctoral research focussing on the virulence of the important nosocomial pathogen Clostridium difficile. Post-doctoral studies followed in the field of recombinant vaccines, identifying and testing candidate antigens against the zoonotic pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. This experience facilitated a move into industry to join the vaccine development company Emergent Biosolutions in 2007 working on expanding the utility of the live attenuated Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi vaccine strain through the introduction of heterologous antigens to create dual-target vaccines.
In 2009 Lisa joined the newly founded Touchlight Genetics Ltd where she leveraged her molecular biology and vaccine experience to help the company establish and consolidate its core patent portfolio in the production and applications of doggyboneÔ closed linear DNA. Dr Caproni leads the Vaccine team within Touchlight steering internal research and external relationships within academia and industry. These efforts have led to the current pipeline of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines with clinical trials planned for 2021 for our two lead vaccine programmes; an immune-oncology programme in Head and Neck cancer and a prophylactic vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.
Counter Terrorist Command
Detective Inspector, Counter Terrorist Command
Detective Inspector Nick Giles has served as a police officer for 22 years. He graduated with an honours degree in Biology in 1997, yes even before the human genome was mapped…
Now working within the Counter Terrorist Command, his role involves intelligence handling and collection. This includes developing new systems and relationships to help the police engage with communities to detect and disrupt terrorism.
Nick will be an advisor to a national project in 2020/21, to develop relationships with academia to assist Universities to better prevent, detect and mitigate threats including those novel threats presented by the possible misuse of synthetic biology.
Nick is a passionate advocate of science and recognising the opportunities that synthetic biology promises and is grateful to be included as a panel member at SynbiTECH. Nick is keen to explore how we can together safeguard the science and find an optimal balance of security without impacting innovation.
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.
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.
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.
University of Edinburgh
Manager of the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology, University of Edinburgh
Dr Liz Fletcher is the Manager of the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology. She has had a career in the life sciences sector in roles varying from postdoctoral researcher, senior scientist in the biotech industry, science and business editor, technology transfer, future technology horizon scanning and economic development. Liz has a Degree in Pharmacology, PhD in Neuropharmacology from the University of London and a Diploma in Science Communication.
CEO & Co-Founder, Carbometrics
Andy has worked in some leading academic institutions in the UK and Spain where his varied research activities have led to several high-impact articles and books. He has specific experience in funding acquisition and a previous chemical SME in which he led customer-driven research and development. He joined Ziylo in 2017 as CSO where he lead the company to its news making early stage acquisition by Novo Nordisk in a deal that could be worth up to $800m. During the acquisition he spun-out Carbometrics with the other directors to collaborate with Novo Nordisk and develop the same technology for diagnostic uses like Continuous Glucose Monitoring.
Founder and CEO, LabGenius
James is CEO and Founder of LabGenius - a venture-backed deep tech company using machine learning to discover new protein therapeutics.
James completed his EPSRC-funded 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 and an MRes in Systems and Synthetic Biology, at Imperial College London. 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.
CEO & Co-Founder, Puraffinity
Henrik Hagemann completed his MEng at Imperial College London where he co-developed a platform for production of targeted nanocellulose using re-engineered living cells. Following his 1st class MEng, Henrik completed an Enterprise Fellowship with the Royal Academy of Engineering 1851 Royal Commission.
Previously he co-founded a social enterprise focused on critical infrastructure including water sanitation (BRAP, 2008), a synthetic biology student society, SynBIC (2014) and participated in the iGEM competition as part of the Imperial College 2014 iGEM team.
In 2018, Henrik was awarded the MIT Tech Review 35 Innovators under 35 and featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for Industry & Manufacturing. Henrik is also a member of the RAEng SME Diversity & Inclusion Steering Group.
Among his hobbies, Henrik has trained as a full-time Kung Fu student at a Shaolin wushu school in Henan, China, worked as a potato farmer in Denmark and cycled the Silk Route from China to Denmark in 87 days.
CTO & Co-Founder, Better Dairy
Christopher has 11 years’ experience in academia, research and consulting. After completing a bioinformatics PhD and a synthetic biology postdoctorate at Imperial College, he joined the Entrepreneur First accelerator and co-founded Better Dairy, where he serves as CTO.
Phycobloom was founded in 2019 in order to tackle the problem of deep decarbonisation: how to reduce the carbon footprint of industries that rely on liquid carbon fuels such as aviation and shipping. Phycobloom are using synthetic biology to create new strains of algae that absorb CO2 and produce biochemicals and biofuels cheaper and more sustainably than ever before. Phycobloom’s co-founders combine experience with renewables and sustainable power, alongside deep technical knowledge in the field of synthetic biology. The CEO, John Waite, completed his DPhil in Energy Materials at Oxford where he was working with renewables and nuclear technology. Phycobloom’s CTO is Ian Hu, who completed his PhD in evolutionary biology at Cambridge and has spent over 10 years working with algae and synthetic biology.
Chief Scientific Officer, Carbios
Alain Marty holds a degree in engineering and a Doctorate in Biochemical Engineering from INSA Toulouse (the French National Institute of Applied Sciences). He began his career in 1992 as a Senior Lecturer at the INSA in Toulouse. He became Professor in 2007 and conducted research in the laboratory TBI (Toulouse Biotechnology Institute). His main research field is enzyme engineering and bioprocess development. In June 2015, he crossed the Rubicon and joined the green chemistry company Carbios as Scientific Chief Officer, to develop new bio-industrial solutions to reinvent the lifecycle of plastic and textile polymers.
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 Fox, the chief executive of the Science Media Centre, 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. The Centre provides scientific context and comment from some of the UK’s top scientists for many major news stories thanks to the Centre’s media database, which has over 2300 such experts on it.
Fiona 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.
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.
Senior Scientist, Biotangents
Senior Scientist at Biotangents which builds easy-to-use diagnostic devices to detect infectious diseases in livestock rapidly and accurately outside the laboratory setting. We combine machine learning bioinformatics, customisable biology workflows and advanced microfluidics to deliver the next generation of veterinary diagnostics for point of care use. We aim to enhance the sustainability of livestock farming and enable vets and farmers to take rapid action to treat and prevent disease by bringing laboratory quality molecular diagnostics to the farm or vet clinic in a simple to use, automated format.
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.
Rodrigo Ledesma Amaro
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, CorNatural
Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro studied Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering at the University of Salamanca (Spain) where he also obtained his PhD degree in Metabolic Engineering. He has been visiting researcher at AIST (Japan) Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) and INRA (France). He was a postdoc at INRA (France) where he worked engineering yeast strains and developing cutting edge synthetic biology tools. Then, he joined Imperial College London, where he is a lecturer and leads a research group working on synthetic biology and metabolic engineering. He has published more than 70 scientific articles and co-authored 5 patents. He is the co-founder of CorNatural, a start-up aimed to achieve a sustainable bioproduction of chemicals and ingredients using microbial cell factories.
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.
Annabelle is CEO of Tensei, a young innovation company developing new pulp based materials from field fibres - notably crop wastes and grasses. Previous to this, she founded and ran SCIN, the largest materials sourcing and advisory company in the UK with a materials library occupying 3500ft² in Clerkenwell London. She has a unique insight into working with companies to develop materials that are market specific and driven by market demand. Tensei was her brain child and evolved from a specific event held at SCIN to highlight the use of cereal straw in Architecture and Design. Her past life has included writing for various Design Magazines and she has been on many judging panels focusing on material developments all sprung from her training as an Architect. She is a firm believer in the economic opportunity of the UK bio economy and the roles these fibres will play in this.
CTO, Co-Founder & Director, Zentraxa
Dr. Martin Challand is CTO, co-founder & a director of Zentraxa. Since graduating with a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Southampton, Martin followed his passion for research at the chemistry-biology interface and has held several post-doctoral research positions at the University of Bristol. In 2015 he joined the Bristol Centre for Synthetic Biology where he developed the company's core technology. Zentraxa, founded in 2017, specialises in developing peptide materials. Our platform allows us to discover and produce innovative, otherwise inaccessible biomaterials in a repeatable, sustainable and scalable manner.
Principal Scientist, Rosa Biotech
Dr Jordan Fletcher has a 15-year career spanning chemical and biological sciences with expertise in peptide chemistry, biology and biophysical techniques for their analysis. In 2009 he moved to the University of Bristol to pursue his interests in peptide-based research. Here, under the supervision of Prof. Dek Woolfson, he developed small peptide building blocks which can be used as modular components for the bottom-up assembly of larger structures. More recently, he was an integral part in establishing Rosa Biotech: a small start-up developing a new paradigm for sensing and the analysis of complex mixtures.
Lead, Microbial Digital Genome Engineering, Inscripta
Dr. Lalonde has spent more than 25 years in research and development leadership, overseeing significant advances in methods for enzyme engineering and directed evolution. He leads the strategic business and portfolio development for Inscripta’s microbial genome engineering platform. Prior to Inscripta, Dr. Lalonde served as Senior Vice President of R&D at Codexis, Inc., a leader in protein engineering. He spent 15 years at the company in positions of increasing responsibility and oversaw development of several enzymes for drug manufacture, nutrition, biotherapeutics, and molecular diagnostics. He also led development of the best-in-class CodeEvolver® protein engineering technology which was licensed to major pharmaceutical companies in multimillion-dollar deals. Prior to his time at Codexis, Dr. Lalonde held a leadership role in chemical development at Altus Biologics and scientific research at Vista Chemical Company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Lakehead University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Texas A&M University.
Imperial College London
Research Assistant, Imperial College London
Michael is currently a Research Assistant in the Freemont group working on the development of high-throughput diagnostic workflows in the London Biofoundry. He studied clinical medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa before completing a Masters in Systems and Synthetic Biology at Imperial College London, funded as a Commonwealth Scholar. During Spring 2020, together with London Biofoundry colleagues, he developed a reagent agnostic automated diagnostic workflow for SARS-CoV-2 testing that has formed the basis of several NHS and community testing initiatives, helping to scale up testing in the UK.
European Sales Director, m2p-labs
Sebastian Blum is European Sales Director at m2p-labs, a microbioreactor company focusing on microreaction and automated solutions for screening and bioprocess development. For 9 years, he is building up his network in the life science sector and supports scientists in international research and development departments to efficiently conduct microbial experiments.
Before he started his sales career, he graduated from the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf with a Diploma in Biology.
When not traveling, Sebastian enjoys gardening and spending time with his family.
Director of Roadmapping and Education, EBRC
Emily Aurand is the Director of Roadmapping and Education at the EBRC and serves as the principal editor of EBRC’s technical research roadmaps, including Engineering Biology and Microbiome Engineering. Emily also serves as the EBRC Industry Internship Program Director.
Prior to coming to EBRC, Emily was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation. At NSF her work in the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) included evaluation and assessment of the Synthetic Biology and Biomanufacturing portfolios, collaboration on the strategic reorganization of CBET programmatic concentrations, and development and implementation of novel funding initiatives, in addition to serving as a subject matter expert (a biologist amongst engineers). During her AAAS Fellowship, Emily also served as a co-chair of the Fellows’ Science Diplomacy Affinity Group, which explores how science and technology cooperation can be used as a tool for diplomacy.
Executive Director, EBRC
Douglas Friedman is Executive Director of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) and holds a concurrent appointment as a Principal Investigator at the University of California, Berkeley. His primary scientific and technical interests lie in the fields of synthetic biology, biotechnology, and physical organic chemistry. Doug’s policy interests include governance of biotechnology, safeguarding the bioeconomy, and accelerating scientific advancement by building diverse, robust community partnerships. He regularly serves as a subject matter expert on emerging biotechnologies, biotechnology policy, and national security topics at the interface of the biological and chemical sciences.
Prior to his role at EBRC, Doug was a study director and senior program officer with the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. He directed 7 major studies and supported numerous workshops and other activities. His primary portfolio focused on science and engineering at the interface of chemistry and biology, often as they related to national security.
Director of Commercialisation, C3 BIOTECH
Dr Kirk Malone is the Director of Commercialisation for the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology and the UK Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub, where his focus is to deliver impact through research partnerships with industry. Kirk is currently part-seconded to C3 BIOTECH, the ‘fuels from waste’ company, where he is helping to scale-up operations and foster international collaborations.
Kirk has extensive experience at the interface of academia and industry, with an exceptional track record of securing funding for collaborative R&D (over £55M). He has a breadth of multi-sector knowledge, including advanced materials, biotechnology, energy and pharmaceuticals.
Founded in 2015, C3 BIOTECH is engineering biology to enable sustainable fuel production. By creating fuels that ‘drop in’ to existing distribution infrastructures, C3 BIOTECH is aiming to energise a low carbon world.
John Innes Centre
Project Leader, John Innes Centre
Anne Osbourn is a Project Leader at the John Innes Centre and Director of the Norwich Research Park Industrial Biotechnology Alliance. She is also an honorary professor at the University of East Anglia. Her research focuses on plant-derived natural products - function, synthesis, mechanisms of metabolic diversification and metabolic engineering. An important advance from the Osbourn laboratory has been the discovery that in plant genomes the genes needed to make particular natural products are often organised in clusters like ‘beads on a string’, a finding that has greatly accelerated our ability to find new pathways and chemistries of potential importance for the development of drugs and other useful compounds. She has established a synthetic biology platform based on transient plant expression that provides rapid access to previously inaccessible natural products and analogs at gram scale. Together these two step changes open up new routes to combine genomics and synthetic biology to synthesize and access previously inaccessible natural products and analogs for medicinal, agricultural and industrial applications. Anne is also a poet, and has developed and co-ordinates the Science, Art and Writing (SAW) Initiative, a cross-curricular science education outreach programme.
Niall joined Polymateria as Chief Executive Officer in January 2018 to tackle the global crisis of plastic waste and lead the company on its mission of advancing science to help nature deal with plastic pollution.
Niall is also on the Sustainability Board of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) since June 2019. UKRI brings together the seven Research Councils within the UK, & has a combined budget of more than £7 billion, funding pioneering research and innovation across the planet.
A World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Niall has worked on WEF’s Global Agenda Councils on Sustainable Consumption and Climate Change where he has launched and led initiatives such as Collectively.org and 100percentsport.org. These initiatives have unified some of the largest businesses and NGOs in the world behind systems level transformations seeking to tackle some of the biggest issues we are facing.
European Research Council
Investigator, European Research Council
Imre Berger was trained as a biochemist at Leibniz University and Medical School (MHH) in Hannover (Germany), MIT (Cambridge, USA), and ETH Zurich (Switzerland). He researches essential proteins complexes in human health and disease, creates synthetic vaccines and develops enabling technologies for this purpose. After Group Leader posts at ETH (2005) and EMBL (2007), Imre was appointed Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry at the University of Bristol (2014). In 2017, he became Director of the Bristol Synthetic Biology Centre and Co-Director of the Bristol Biodesign Institute BBI, Since 2019, Imre is Founding and Managing Director of the Max Planck Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology. Imre Berger has pioneered synthetic viral nanosystems for DNA delivery and complex biologics production. The tools he developed are accelerating research and development in academia and industry world-wide. He holds international patents for protein and DNA technologies, published more than 130 papers in leading periodicals, co-founded three biotech companies and received numerous distinctions, including the Swiss Technology Award, the W.A. DeVigier Foundation Award and the Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award for his innovative research. Since 2019, Imre is Investigator of the European Research Council ERC.
University of Edinburgh
Chancellor’s Fellow and Reader in Bioethics, University of Edinburgh
Dr Sarah Chan is a Chancellor’s Fellow and Reader in Bioethics at the Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh; she is Director of the Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and Law, and a Co-Principal Investigator of the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society. Previously, from 2005 to 2015, she was a Research Fellow in Bioethics at the University of Manchester, first at the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy and from 2008 the Institute for Science Ethics and Innovation. Sarah’s research focuses on the ethics of new biomedical technologies, including gene therapy and genetic modification; stem cell and embryo research; reproductive medicine; synthetic biology; and human and animal enhancement. Her current work draws on these interests to explore the ethics of emerging modes of biomedicine at the interface of health care research, medical treatment and consumer medicine, including population-level health and genetic data research; the use of human biomaterials in both research and treatment; and access to experimental treatments and medical innovation.
Senior Industrial Officer, SynbiCITE
Tabasum joined SynbiCITE in a partnership with NPL to help industry accelerate the commercialisation of world-class synthetic biology, in part by identifying the unique metrology and standards constraints this sector faces. She is the primary channel for industrial liaison and is keen to support bio-manufacturing start-ups and SMEs access infrastructure, expertise and further develop their products and services.
She has extensive experience of owning and developing strategic alliances, the identification and exploitation of commercially savvy research collaborations and the management of the surrounding IP.
Tabasum has a prior research background in translational science; her PhD was in clinical pharmacology in the Department of Medicine at UCL, and she subsequently worked as a cancer biologist at the GOSH Institute of Child Health.”
Venture Partner, Draper Esprit
Vishal Gulati is a Venture Partner at Draper Esprit. He is one of the Europe’s leading digital healthcare investors. Vishal is a qualified physician and chairman of the Digital Health Forum. Over the last decade he has championed deals across areas including diagnostics, devices & biotech. He is currently on the boards of Horizon Discovery PLC and EcoEos. His investments include Napo Pharmaceuticals, Glenmark, Renovo, Phagenesis. He has also held board positions at Psynova Neurotech, Bioscale and Enigma Diagnostics. Previously, Vishal worked at Atlas Venture, The Wellcome Trust and Radiant Capital.
Integrated DNA Technologies
Field Application Manager for Synthetic Biology, Integrated DNA Technologies
Tom is the Field Application Manager for Synthetic Biology at Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT), where he provides technical guidance and support to the sales team and to customers, and is responsible for the strategy and development of the Synthetic Biology business across Europe. IDT is the world leader in delivering custom nucleic acid products for the life sciences market in the areas of academic research, medical diagnostics, biotechnology, agriculture, and pharmaceutical development. The company's primary business is the production of custom oligonucleotides for molecular biology applications. IDT has developed proprietary technologies for genomics applications such as next generation sequencing, Synthetic Biology, CRISPR genome editing, qPCR, and RNA interference.
Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
Non-Executive Chairman, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
Steve has over thirty-five years' experience of working and leading biotechnology, pharmaceutical and fine chemicals businesses. He is currently the non-executive Chairman of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies - one of the world's leading contract development and manufacturers of biopharmaceuticals, advanced therapies and vaccines. He is also a non executive director of the Centre for Process Innovation and Arcinova both based in the north east of England and he is an Industry Analyst on the UK Government's Vaccine Task Force. He chairs the UK's Industrial Biotechnology Forum and is co-Chair of the UK's BioEconomy Council.
Imperial College London
NIHR Research Professor in Infectious Disease, Imperial College London
Graham Cooke is NIHR Research Professor in Infectious Disease at Imperial College. His main research interests focus on viral hepatitis leading strategic treatment trials, the development of diagnostics and efforts to improve access to therapy towards elimination. Since 2017 he has chaired the WHO committee on Selection and Use of Essential Medicines. He is currently PI on REACT, a large home testing programme for COVID and led clincial development of a novel point of care diagnostic, COVIDnudge, now deployed in NHS hospitals.
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.