Congrats to Will!
Josh Leonard’s commentary was featured in a news article in Chemical & Engineering News in July featuring synthetic biologist Martin Fusseneger’s menthol-triggered insulin-producing cells. Josh commented saying the work is “an important first step”, as it was the first time a gene circuit was made entirely from human parts.
Find the full news article here.
The Block Museum of Art hosted “Exploring Ethics: Across Art, Humanities, and Science”, a public event that provided researchers in various fields and artists a platform to share their experiences in encountering, raising, and answering new ethical questions as well as engage with the public on these topics. The event featured Northwestern synthetic biologists Danielle Tullman-Ercek, Julius Lucks, and Josh Leonard, as well as Artist-at-Large Dario Robleto and professor of medical education and anthropology Megan Crowley Matoka. Discussions ranged from capturing the ethics of science as art to engage two separate fields and the public, how to best get research to the point of need, and the cultural and ethical impact of organ transplant donation.
See the press release about the event here.
The conference took place from May 17th-19th on Northwestern University’s campus and brought in researchers from around the world with over 150 in attendance. The first ever pre-conference workshop tutorial series took place on Friday, May 17th, providing an open forum for those new to and experienced in mammalian synthetic biology to ask questions to experts about topics such as sensing, cell signaling and differentiation, gene expression, and protein engineering, with professors Julius Lucks, Leonardo Morsut, Tara Deans, and Danielle Tullman-Ercek leading the discussions. Saturday and Sunday featured talks from experts in mammalian synthetic biology such as Linda Griffith, Melody Swartz, Ron Weiss, Martin Fussenegger, and many more. Leonard Lab member Devin Stranford gave a talk on her extracellular vesicle research and its applications to treating HIV. Additionally, Leonard Lab members Joe Muldoon, Taylor Dolberg, Patrick Donahue, Alex Prybutok, Kate Dray, Joseph Draut, Brandon Lim, Vis Kandula, Parth Shah, and Anthony Kang presented posters at the poster session on Saturday evening. Sunday’s talks concluded with a panel discussing the broader ethical implications and impacts of synthetic biology research, featuring Artist-at-Large Dario Robleto, bioethicist Laurie Zoloth, and historians Ben Hurlbut and Gaymon Bennett. Josh was presented with a commemorative plaque for helping organize and host the conference, which will take place by the Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
See the full press release about the conference here.