Cambridge website for Synthetic Biology resources

Compiled by Jim Haseloff at the University of Cambridge. SpannerPlantLogo140This site contains details of recent papers and activity in Synthetic Biology, with particular emphasis on: (i) development of standards in biology and DNA parts, (ii) microbial and (iii) plant systems, (iv) research and teaching in the field at the University of Cambridge, (v) hardware for scientific computing and instrumentation, (vi) tools for scientific productivity and collected miscellany.

Similar to the Cambridge-based Raspberry Pi and OpenLabTools initiatives, we promote the use of low cost and open source tools - in our case for use in biological engineering.

Google: Synthetic Biology news

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Meetings: Synthetic Biology

  • 04 Aug 2014
    01:00 to 01:00

    Integrative Biology-2014 is a remarkable event for scientists/experts from academia and industry nationwide to catalyze the networking between the branches of computational biology and bioinformatics and

  • 30 Aug 2014
    01:00 to 01:00

    This conference will focus on the advancement of synthetic biology, especially its application in the field of antibiotic production in filamentous fungi and actinomycete bacteria, including the implementation

  • 14 Sep 2014
    01:00 to 01:00

    This year's conference theme Systems Biology: The Fifth Element seeks to capture the multiple facets that comprise a systems understanding of life, as a single common thread that unifies seemingly different

04 Aug 19 Sep

Weather: Cambridge

more here

Video: To Enable the Robo-Insects of the Future, Researchers Capture Butterfly Flight at 3,000 FPS

Micro Aerial Vehicles Like Harvard's 'Mobee' Could Be Improved By Studying the Way Butterflies Fly via Harvard Microrobotics Lab

Neither bio-mimicking robots nor insect-analog micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) are new concepts. But where super high-speed video capture, competitive figure skating, and lepidopterology collide, there PopSci shall be. Today, that means turning our attention to Johns Hopkins University, where engineering undergrad Tiras Lin is potentially shaking up insect-like aerial robot design.

For a proper visual explanation of what Lin and colleagues are up to, the video below is thorough. But briefly: DARPA and other defense- and public safety-related research entities in both the public and private sectors have been exploring the idea of tiny, sensor-capable drones the size of aircraft for years now (regular readers have read about many of them on this site). But actually recreating mechanically the kind of flight achieved by insects is notoriously difficult.

Users want MAVs they can pilot through complex urban environments, where the variables--obstacles, tight spaces, variable air pressure and wind speeds--make it difficult to fly. Wishing to tap real insects' tricks, mechanical engineering junior Lin crossed over into entomology, using a high-speed camera array to capture butterfly flight--wing flapping, body deformation, and anything else that contributes to mass distribution as a butterfly moves through the air.

His high-speed rig allowed him to capture 3,000 one-megapixel images per second (compare that to 24 frames per second for standard video), allowing him to dissect the forces at play as the butterflies flapped their wings roughly 25 times per second. Using three cameras, he was able to capture three dimensional data and analyze the way butterflies' bodies and wings move in sync to provide them with their maneuverability.

His findings? Butterflies appear to be very much like figure skaters, using angular momentum as they flap their wings to modify their moments of inertia (this is akin to figure skaters tucking their arms to increase the speed of their spins and outstretching them to slow their rotation--essentially manipulating their rotation by redistributing mass). This refutes earlier assumptions that a butterfly's wings don't have enough mass relative to their bodies to be a factor in maneuverability. And it just might change the way roboticists approach robo-insect design going forward.

Much more via the video below.

Video: To Enable the Robo-Insects of the Future, Researchers Capture Butterfly Flight at 3,000 FPS

(Via Popular Science -.)

Research news at Cambridge University

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Online resources, including bibliography, weblinks and posters, for work with the simple plant system, Marchantia polymorpha.

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OpenLabTools: open technology in Cambridge


The OpenLabTools Project is a new initiative for the development of low cost and open access scientific tools at the University of Cambridge. With support from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, student projects include data acquisition, sensing, actuating, processing and 3D manufacturing, see the website.

Research Studies

PhD Studentships in Cambridge

The Board of Graduate Studies manages admission of the University's graduate students. Prospective students should start here - for an introduction to the University of Cambridge, the courses we offer, how to apply for postgraduate study, how your application will be processed, and immigration and other important information.

Click here for more information about Cambridge