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.