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...

When Snapguide debuted last week it received pretty good reviews in the press. But more importantly, it got a “very warm response,” as founder Daniel Raffel put it, from new users. He’s barely been sleeping, staying up to answer a constant stream of feedback emails about his very slick and good-looking iOS app that helps people easily make do-it-yourself guides to just about anything armed with just an iPhone and an idea.

During the same week the iPad got its own quickly embraced drawing and journaling app, Paper. Like Snapguide, the response was nearly immediate, and my Twitter stream filled up over the next few days with digital watercolors, drawing and paintings that were created by friends with just their fingertips on the iPad.

Snapguide and Paper have two things in common. Both appeal to the creative side of mobile users, and both are themselves beautifully made and deceptively simple to use.

I think it’s these qualities that are going to provide a roadmap for more iOS apps to come that will appeal to the artsy, creative side of people, rather than the traditional consumption-oriented theme of what have so far been the most popular types of apps on Apple’s platform.

At last count there are 585,000 apps available for download on Apple’s iOS App Store. And as has been true since the App Store debuted nearly four years ago, no category is more popular or important to the platform than games — they are half of the most popular free apps overall and half of the most popular paid apps. Angry Birds is the poster child for how to succeed as a gaming app on Apple’s mobile platform, but there are so many others: Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, Words with Friends, etc. In other words, people rightfully associate the iOS platform with games.

Other apps are on the rise too: News, weather and social networking apps are also big with iOS users. But like games, these are mostly consumption apps: reading news, following people on Twitter, checking the weather, or entertaining yourself.

The debuts of Snapguide and Paper are showing that not only are developers making apps that make the iPhone and iPad more of a creative tool, but that users are responding. We’ve written a lot about the iPad as a productivity tool, thanks to apps for annotation, creating presentations and reports, data visualization and more. These are mostly aimed at people using the iPad in a specialized business or education context. But I think we’re starting to see that developers and consumers see iOS devices as fun and casual ways to create things as well.

Even Snapguide’s Raffel wasn’t totally sure of the widespread appeal of his app until after it was released to the public and people started creating their own guides.

“What I didn’t realize is that we were building a platform for people to participate in a public talent show. They can share all these things they’re good at — it’s something that’s clearly been missing,” he said.

At least for DIY stuff. There are equivalents of these virtual talent shows all over the web and in plenty of fields, he points out.

“There’s Github to show off how you can code, Flickr to show off pictures you take, Dribbble for creativity and designers to show off,” Raffel says. “There hasn’t been a generic platform where people feel comfortable showing off … YouTube is the closest thing, but it’s a hard place to create and edit a video. The bar has been too high” to participate for most people.

He’s talking about his own Snapguide, but that willingness to embrace an app that helps users unlock or show off their creative expression can apply to other apps too.

June '09 edition of The New Yorker

Creative expression through apps is not new on iOS. Apple demonstrated the platform’s potential with a mobile version of GarageBand early on. And Brushes has been around for several years. It had its big break when the iPhone app was used to create the cover of the New Yorker in June 2009. But since then, though more specialized apps for artists, like Sketchbook Pro, have gotten great reviews, there haven’t been many big, instant hits in this category.

A similar idea can be found in a less traditionally “artsy” field, but one that still requires an enormous amount of creativity: building apps. Codea, which we’ve profiled in the past, takes the idea of creating apps or games for the iPad and flips it a bit: you use the iPad to create apps and games for the iPad, through a simple, touch-oriented programming language.

Codea’s creator, Simeon Nasilowski, also saw the potential of the iPad as a creation tool early on:

“I didn’t understand why people were saying it’s just for consumption. You can run any tools you like on it, you just have to think about it from a different interaction viewpoint — not mouse and keyboard, you just need tools optimized for touch. Then it becomes quite a good creation tool.”

As more developers look for “green pastures,” as Raffel put it — unexplored categories of mobile apps — I think we’ll see more people realizing how creative the iPhone and iPad — and even other mobile platforms some day — can be.

(Via The Apple Blog.)

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

OpenMicroscope1

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.