Cambridge website for Synthetic Biology resources

www.synbio.org.uk

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.

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Meetings: Synthetic Biology

  • 11 May 2014
    All Day

    The BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology is the world's largest industrial biotechnology event for business leaders, investors, and policy makers in biofuels, biobased products, and renewable

  • 20 Jun 2014
    20:00 to 20:00

  • 21 Jun 2014
    20:00 to 20:00

  • 03 Aug 2014
    20:00 to 20:00

    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

  • 29 Aug 2014
    20:00 to 20:00

    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

  • 13 Sep 2014
    20:00 to 20:00

    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

11 May 18 Sep

Weather: Cambridge

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featured news: Synthetic Biology

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OpenPlant - major boost for synthetic biology

OpenPlant - major boost for synthetic biology

Plant scientists at Cambridge and Norwich have been awarded £12 million funding for a new UK synthetic biology centre – OpenPlant. OpenPlant is a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the John Innes Centre on Norwich Research Park. The funding...

The entire alphabet, photographed on butterfly wings

The entire alphabet, photographed on butterfly wings

Nature photographer Kjell Bloch Sandved has amassed a massive collection of butterfly and moth wings, capturing a host of unusual patterns. Using those patterns, he has assembled entire butterfly alphabets. The entire alphabet, photographed on butterfly wings   Read more...

The Average Length of Dissertations across Fields

The Average Length of Dissertations across Fields

How long is a doctoral dissertation? Too long—but some more than others. Marcus W. Beck, a doctoral student in conservation biology at the University of Minnesota, decided to find out. No, he didn’t write a dissertation on the subject.* But he...

Why the GMO Debate Misses the Point: Part 2

Why the GMO Debate Misses the Point: Part 2

  Washingtonians are going to the ballot box today to vote on Initiative 522, a measure that would require food producers to label genetically engineered foods. Sasha Wright, an ecologist and state native, offers her solutions to the GMO debate. This is...

GrowCube promises to grow food with ease indoors (hands-on)

GrowCube promises to grow food with ease indoors (hands-on)

Food. It's a bit of a big issue. After all, half the world doesn't have enough, and the other half has so much it doesn't really know where it comes from. Chris Beauvois, a software developer turned inventor, has created...

Geoengineering, through the eyes of the IPCC

Geoengineering, through the eyes of the IPCC

Examples of geoengineering proposals. Kathleen Smith, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory It has been well established that our emissions of greenhouse gases are changing the Earth’s climate and that in order to avoid future warming and ocean acidification, fossil fuel use will need...

A journey to life’s beginnings

A journey to life’s beginnings

Life, biologists would tell us, is one of the last great mysteries. It is hard to define, even in an 'I know it when I see it' fashion, making it tricky to study. Yet, as I sit here at a...

Fossil insect hid by carrying a basket of trash

Fossil insect hid by carrying a basket of trash

If you travelled back to Spain, during the Cretaceous period, you might see an insect so bizarre that you’d think you were hallucinating. That’s certainly what Ricardo Pérez-de la Fuente thought when he found the creature entombed in amber in...

Contest: create a new kind of science kit for kids

Contest: create a new kind of science kit for kids

Remember how much fun chemistry sets used to be before the chemicals were deemed too dangerous for household fun? The Society for Science & The Public, in collaboration with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, have launched a contest to...

Circle of Life: The Beautiful New Way to Visualize Biological Data

Circle of Life: The Beautiful New Way to Visualize Biological Data

When Martin Krzywinski took a systems administrator job at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Center, he didn't plan on becoming a pioneer of 21st century biological data visualization. Now his distinctive aesthetic is synonymous with the informational richness of our moment. Circle...

An Overview of US Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Funding Programs

An Overview of US Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Funding Programs

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program was officially launched in 2009 as the result of the 2007 America COMPETES Act, which was signed by President George W. Bush. Congress appropriated and President Barack Obama allocated $400 million in 2009...

3D Printer Made from E-waste in Africa

3D Printer Made from E-waste in Africa

We throw away millions of tons of e-waste every year and barely manage to recycle more than 15-20%. [Kodjo Afate Gnikou] is a 33-year old African who has just finished off a 3D printer built almost entirely out of e-waste. He...

Further evidence that nature is not the opposite of technology

Further evidence that nature is not the opposite of technology

As we move into a clean tech future, it's becoming more obvious that the old distinction between machines and nature is a false one. This sophisticated filter, made by researchers at MIT, is a perfect way to remove bacteria from...

Synthetic-biology company pushes open-source models

Synthetic-biology company pushes open-source models

Some synthetic fluorescent proteins made by DNA2.0 are now freely available to researchers. DNA2.0 Article tool When DNA2.0, a company that synthesizes made-to-order genes, needed to conduct a few routine experiments using a fluorescent protein, its lawyers dug up more than 1,000 US...

£17k Nerve KickStart challenge

 £17k Nerve KickStart challenge

Innovative global startups are being invited to tilt at a £17k prize package in the Nerve KickStart competition, run in conjunction with the Nerve conference on disruptive technology in Cambridge from June 25-27. KickStart is strictly for 'killers' - entrepreneurs whose...

Call for exhibits and experiments at GROW YOUR OWN...

Call for exhibits and experiments at GROW YOUR OWN...

GROW YOUR OWN... is a curated, open call exhibition tackling provocative questions raised by synthetic biology to be hosted at the Science Gallery, Dublin (http://sciencegallery.com), supported by the Wellcome Trust. The exhibition is curated by Professor Paul Freemont (Imperial College)...

Senior Internships for Interdisciplinary Research

Senior Internships for Interdisciplinary Research

Applications are invited for the next round of University of Cambridge / Wellcome Trust Senior Internships. The scheme is aimed at suitably qualified post-doctoral candidates with backgrounds in the physical sciences (incl. engineering, mathematics and computer sciences) who wish to gain...

Raspberry Pi Summer Internship Programme (2013)

Raspberry Pi Summer Internship Programme (2013)

We are looking for approximately ten students to take part in a range of projects that make use of the Raspberry Pi computer. A list of projects can be found below. Alternatively, if you have an interesting project idea of your...

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 -.)

www.synbio.org.uk

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www.marchantia.org

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

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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

OpenLabTools: open technology in Cambridge

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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 openlabtools.org website.