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CSHL Synthetic Biology Course, August 2 - 15, 2016

This course at Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory will focus on how the complexity of biological systems, combined with traditional engineering approaches, results in the emergence of new design principles for synthetic biology. The Course centers around an immersive laboratory experience. Application Deadline: April 15, 2016

 

 

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Synthetic biology is a discipline wherein living organisms are genetically programmed to carry out desired functions in a reliable manner. This field takes inspiration from our ever-expanding ability to measure and manipulate biological systems, and the philosophical reflections of Schrodinger and Feynman that physical laws can be used to describe and rationally engineer biology to accomplish useful goals. After all, cells are
the world’s most sophisticated chemists, and their ability to learn to adapt to 
changing environments offer enormous potential to solving modern engineering challenges. Nonetheless, biological systems are noisy, massively interconnected, and non-linear, and have not evolved to be easily engineered. The grand challenge of synthetic biology is to reconcile the desire for a predictable, formalized biological design process with the inherent ‘squishiness’ of biology.

 

Learn Techniques and Perform Research at the Forefront of Synthetic Biology: The course will focus on how the complexity of biological systems, combined with traditional engineering approaches, results in the emergence of new design principles for synthetic biology. The Course centers around an immersive laboratory experience. Here, students will work in teams to learn the practical and theoretical underpinnings of cutting edge research in the area of Synthetic Biology. Broadly, we will explore how cellular regulation- transcriptional, translational, post-translational and epigenetic- can be used to engineer cells to accomplish well-defined goals. Specific laboratory modules will cover the following areas: computational biology using ordinary differential equations models, gene circuit characterization using microfluidics, cell-free transcription and translation systems, engineering RNA molecules as biosensors, high-throughput cloning techniques and genome engineering. Students will first learn essential synthetic biology techniques in a four-day ‘boot-camp’, and then rotate through research projects in select areas.

In addition, students will interact closely with a panel of internationally-recognized speakers who will give students a broad overview of applications for synthetic biology, including renewable chemical production and therapeutics, the current state-of-the-art techniques, and case studies in human practices and socially responsible innovation. 

2016 Lecturers:

Caroline Ajo-Franklin, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
Chase Beisel, North Carolina State University
Doug Densmore, Boston University
Jeff Hasty, University of California, San Diego
Samira Kiani, Arizona State University
Chang Liu, University of California Irvine
Meagan McClean, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Reshma Shetty, Ginkgo Bioworks
Chris Voigt, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cost (including board and lodging): $3,735

 

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