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This Summer's Cambridge-Norwich Biomaker Challenge Will Support 27 Diverse Open Science Projects

We're very excited to announce the project list for this year's Biomaker Challenge. The participants span 20 University of Cambridge departments, several Norwich institutes, and include industry professionals and international collaborators from Germany, Chile, Argentina, Kenya and beyond. The proposals were incredibly varied, including everything from a neural sensor for early-stage cancer detection to a low-cost incubator to grow mycelium biotextiles. What's next in the challenge? We're putting the final touches on this year's training materials and are looking forward to our first training event on Monday 3 June (all are welcome)!

This Summer's Cambridge-Norwich Biomaker Challenge Will Support 27 Diverse Open Science Projects - Read More…

Call for papers - The rise of DIY Laboratories: Implication for Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Policy

Call for papers - The rise of DIY Laboratories: Implication for Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Policy

From Auckland to Zagreb, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) laboratories are "popping" up in cities across the world. Organised around open-source principles, these independent community-based science research hubs, often set up by Scientists and Science Enthusiasts to learn, experiment and get involve with the world of STI advancement. These "citizen laboratories" are flourishing because they are attracting volunteers, communities, groups, and venture capitalists, making them alternative homes for talent located within and beyond the theoretical boundaries of universities keen to open up the processes of science, technology, and innovation to the public (Hecker et al., 2018; Sleator, 2016; Landrain, 2013).

Call for papers - The rise of DIY Laboratories: Implication for Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Policy - Read More…

2017 Biomaker Team in Line for Early-career Innovator Award for Open Source Chamber for Speed-Breeding and Crop Transformation

2017 Biomaker Team in Line for Early-career Innovator Award for Open Source Chamber for Speed-Breeding and Crop Transformation

A group of young innovators based in Norwich Research Park have made the final of the BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2019 Awards.Their project, initially prototyped through the 2017 Biomaker Challenge, has made speed breeding more accessible to the research community.

2017 Biomaker Team in Line for Early-career Innovator Award for Open Source Chamber for Speed-Breeding and Crop Transformation - Read More…

Biomakers in South America, Africa, and beyond looking for Cambridge and Norwich collaborators for the current funding call

OpenPlant Biomaker is a five-month programme challenging interdisciplinary teams to (i) build low-cost sensors and instruments for biology or (ii) develop a biological resource or outreach project with up to £3000 support. As we are about halfway through the call, and following a well-attended mixer session, there are now several UK and international researchers looking for collaborators before the call closes on Monday 13 May! Who they are and how to connect with them....

Biomakers in South America, Africa, and beyond looking for Cambridge and Norwich collaborators for the current funding call - Read More…

Survey results are in for the demand for open-source hardware in research + education

Survey results are in for the demand for open-source hardware in research + education

A few months ago, André Maia Chagas (Mozilla Fellow, TReND in Africa collaborator, and co-founder of Prometheus Science) conducted a survey to better understand what tools and resources researchers, educators, DIYers and curious individuals were lacking in order to conduct scientific experiments. In the second stage of the project, André and his team hope to engage communities and collectively build the tools to address these needs through a call for participation in a building event.

Survey results are in for the demand for open-source hardware in research + education - Read More…

Biomaker Training in Ghana: Introducing biologists and non-biologists to building science hardware

Biomaker Training in Ghana: Introducing biologists and non-biologists to building science hardware

The Biomaker Africa programme is the first of its kind in Africa, aimed at training biologists and non-biologists to learn, design, prototype and share science hardware critical to building tools for laboratory use and environmental sensing. Additionally, the programme is geared towards enabling teams to find solutions to problems in agriculture, health, research and education particular to Africa. Biomaker Africa includes 4 countries: Ghana (Kumasi Hive), South Africa (University of Pretoria), Egypt (Mansoura University) and Ethiopia (Bahir Dar University). Harry Akligoh of Kumasi Hive details the exciting two-month intensive Biomaker training program that was implemented this spring.

Biomaker Training in Ghana: Introducing biologists and non-biologists to building science hardware - Read More…

The Art & Science Soirée aimed to provide the inspiration, tools and spaces to work on interdisciplinary, open science projects

The Art & Science Soirée aimed to provide the inspiration, tools and spaces to work on interdisciplinary, open science projects

As part of this year's Cambridge Science Festival, The Art & Science Soirée brought together scientists, engineers, artists and designers for an exciting evening of speed meets, snap-talks, hands-on demos, and unexpected encounters. From the beginning, it was important to the organisers that the evening not only produce sparks of inspiration, but provide the tools and resources to be able to move forward and produce something tangible with them.

The Art & Science Soirée aimed to provide the inspiration, tools and spaces to work on interdisciplinary, open science projects - Read More…

New paper out from Jewett lab on cell-free biosynthesis of limonene using enzyme-enriched Escherichia coli lysates

New paper out from Jewett lab on cell-free biosynthesis of limonene using enzyme-enriched Escherichia coli lysates

Isoprenoids are an attractive class of metabolites for enzymatic synthesis from renewable substrates. However, metabolic engineering of microorganisms for monoterpenoid production is limited by the need for time-consuming, and often non-intuitive, combinatorial tuning of biosynthetic pathway variations to meet design criteria. Towards alleviating this limitation, the goal of this work was to build a modular, cell-free platform for construction and testing of monoterpenoid pathways, using the fragrance and flavoring molecule limonene as a model.

New paper out from Jewett lab on cell-free biosynthesis of limonene using enzyme-enriched Escherichia coli lysates - Read More…

Our Biomaker Challenge: Designing for Code-Free LCD Menu Generation

Our Biomaker Challenge: Designing for Code-Free LCD Menu Generation

I’m a hardware designer and embedded systems programmer based outside Boston, MA, and I was an early independent contributor to the XOD project. I come from a background and education more rooted in art and design, sound engineering, and analog circuit design for audio equipment, than software development/code hacking and seem to be more of a “visual thinker,” so the idea of being able to rapidly prototype microprocessor systems with a metaphor like wiring modules together really appealed to me. And I was glad to see that Cambridge chose to use this environment as an educational aid. I think it will be a unique tool for science and engineering students, even with limited programming ability, to build fairly complex microprocessor-based hardware vital to the success of projects in their own fields, and simultaneously teach how to design and think like an engineer.

Our Biomaker Challenge: Designing for Code-Free LCD Menu Generation - Read More…

2019 OpenPlant Forum in Cambridge will focus on smart design for the future bioeconomy

2019 OpenPlant Forum in Cambridge will focus on smart design for the future bioeconomy

The annual synthetic biology forum will be held at Murray Edwards College this summer during the last week of July. A preliminary programme has been announced and free registration is now open!

2019 OpenPlant Forum in Cambridge will focus on smart design for the future bioeconomy - Read More…

Biomaker Initiative Awarded £80k for Capacity Building in Africa!

Biomaker Initiative Awarded £80k for Capacity Building in Africa!

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) supports interdisciplinary activities that address problems of developing countries and aims to develop sustainable and innovative solutions. The SynBio SRI is excited to announce that, together with Dr Lara Allen and Dr Jenny Molloy, we have been successful in a bid to implement the Biomaker programme with key partners in African institutions to build local expertise and capacity through knowledge sharing and exchange of open-source materials.

Biomaker Initiative Awarded £80k for Capacity Building in Africa! - Read More…

The SynBio SRI is teaming up with SciArt Cambridge, Biomakespace and event producer Sophie Weeks for an exciting event for Cambridge Science Festival 2019

The SynBio SRI is teaming up with SciArt Cambridge, Biomakespace and event producer Sophie Weeks for an exciting event for Cambridge Science Festival 2019

We're shaking things up this year and co-hosting The Art & Science Soirée on the evening of Monday 18 March at The Engineer's House by the river. We invite creative thinkers and tinkerers to connect with scientists, engineers, artists and designers engaged in DIY science. But why science and art you ask?

The SynBio SRI is teaming up with SciArt Cambridge, Biomakespace and event producer Sophie Weeks for an exciting event for Cambridge Science Festival 2019 - Read More…

Two publications describe focus stacking setup developed through OpenPlant Fund and Biomaker Challenge

Two publications describe focus stacking setup developed through OpenPlant Fund and Biomaker Challenge

Dr Jennifer Deegan has built a Focus Stacking system that enables her to take close up, high-definition photos of very small gametophyte ferns. The project was further developed through an OpenPlant Fund and the Biomaker Challenge, during which she collaborated with an interdisciplinary team to photograph new samples and build up teaching tools to enable others to replicate the system.

Two publications describe focus stacking setup developed through OpenPlant Fund and Biomaker Challenge - Read More…

Speed Breeding Made Accessible and Democratic

Speed Breeding Made Accessible and Democratic

Scientists at the John Innes Centre, Earlham Institute, and Quadram Institute in Norwich and the University of Queensland have improved the technique, known as speed breeding, adapting it to work in vast glasshouses and in scaled-down desktop growth chambers.

Speed Breeding Made Accessible and Democratic - Read More…

Our Biomaker Challenge: Improving homebrewing with the help of arduinos and XOD

We are a small, merry band of newbie Biomakers and amateur homebrewers and have started a project to monitor the progression of our fine brews in real time. By day we are two research scientists and a Biology teacher. We are looking to develop a piece of kit which allows us to see how quickly our homebrew is turned from a mixture of sugars in the initial malty extract into alcohol in beer. As sugars are converted to alcohol by the yeast, the density, or Specific Gravity (SG), of the liquid decreases and this is traditionally monitored by the means of a hydrometer. The SG decreases over time until it reaches a final plateau, at which point all of the sugars have been turned into alcohol. We are interested in monitoring how quickly this happens and how we can monitor it in real time.

Our Biomaker Challenge: Improving homebrewing with the help of arduinos and XOD - Read More…

These low-cost, open source projects won the 2018 Biomaker Challenge. Plus, ways to get involved!

Though the 2018 Biomaker Challenge is now over, biomaker activities are still going strong! What we have coming up plus a quick recap of this year's challenge outcomes and the Open Technology Workshop...

These low-cost, open source projects won the 2018 Biomaker Challenge. Plus, ways to get involved! - Read More…

LGBT+ STEM researchers for Cambridge Science Festival

LGBT+ STEM researchers for Cambridge Science Festival

Following the success of their events at this year’s festivals, OUT THINKERS is back for 2019 Cambridge Science Festival. This event will celebrate Cambridge’s LGBT+ scientists, engineers and mathematicians. The organisers are looking for researchers to take part – anyone from PhD students to postdocs to lab and group leaders.

LGBT+ STEM researchers for Cambridge Science Festival - Read More…

Open Science Hardware in the Developing World

Open Science Hardware in the Developing World

In the developing world it’s difficult to get and maintain the hi-tech equipment we associate with modern laboratories. But could open-science hardware provide a lifeline? Rachel Brazil of PhysicsWorld investigates, highlighting several members of our synthetic biology community!

Open Science Hardware in the Developing World - Read More…

Biomaker Fayre: Call for Exhibitors! (Saturday 27 October 2018)

Biomaker Fayre: Call for Exhibitors! (Saturday 27 October 2018)

If you have an interesting project using open technologies, created as part of the Biomaker Challenge, or independently, you are invited to exhibit it at the Biomaker Fayre during Open Technology Week.

Biomaker Fayre: Call for Exhibitors! (Saturday 27 October 2018) - Read More…

[3-minute survey] What’s in the Cam? Share your experiences with our river!

[3-minute survey] What’s in the Cam? Share your experiences with our river!

It's summer, it's May Bumps, let's have a bath... and year by year, Cambridge rowers, swimmers and punters obtain serious infections associated with pathogens from the Cam’s water! What are these bugs, and where do they come from? A detailed information and research framework that targets the involved microbial culprits is still lacking.

[3-minute survey] What’s in the Cam? Share your experiences with our river! - Read More…

Open Cell launches shipping container labs at Shepherd's Bush Market to accelerate biotech start-up businesses

Co-founder and SynBio SRI Steering committee member Helene Steiner conceived the idea for Open Cell while working in Microsoft Research and also moonlighting as a lecturer in the Royal College of Art. Open Cell has joined forces with regeneration specialist, U+I, and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to launch Bio Lab – a biolab to offer affordable spaces at the Old Laundry Yard in Shepherds Bush Market. A first for London, phase one of Bio Lab will provide 20 low cost, start-up studios in shipping containers, in which innovators and entrepreneurs can build, test and demonstrate biotech focused innovations.

Open Cell launches shipping container labs at Shepherd's Bush Market to accelerate biotech start-up businesses - Read More…

Try a protein cell-free expression system for free with Quentin Dudley, OpenPlant fund grantee [Deadline: June 1 2018]

Quentin Dudley, postdoc with Nicola Patron (EI) and Sarah O'Connor (JIC) has established an in-house E.coli CFPS system to test a range of different proteins from various plants. He's looking for researchers to contribute their plant gene of interest in exchange for the output protein.

Try a protein cell-free expression system for free with Quentin Dudley, OpenPlant fund grantee [Deadline: June 1 2018] - Read More…

Apply for Development i-Teams by Tuesday May 1st: Adapting Polar Science for the Developing World

Apply for Development i-Teams by Tuesday May 1st: Adapting Polar Science for the Developing World

Have you ever wondered how new ideas can help people in the developing world? Are you interested in what Cambridge can do to help? If so, then our Development i-Teams programme is for you!

Apply for Development i-Teams by Tuesday May 1st: Adapting Polar Science for the Developing World - Read More…

Applications for 2018 SynBio UK Committee Positions are now open! [Apply by 8 April 2018]

Applications for 2018 SynBio UK Committee Positions are now open! [Apply by 8 April 2018]

SynBio UK is uniting the UK's SynBio students, incorporating university societies across the country. By fostering ties between students passionate about SynBio, the association enables them to combine their strengths and promote a vibrant national community. SynBio UK is recruiting a range of students (Undergraduates, Masters and PhDs) who are passionate about Synthetic Biology regardless of their background!

Applications for 2018 SynBio UK Committee Positions are now open! [Apply by 8 April 2018] - Read More…

Free Broadcast Interview Training for Cambridge academics, staff and students

Free Broadcast Interview Training for Cambridge academics, staff and students

Interviews can help audiences make sense of even the most complicated topics, cutting through the confusing complexity and making them relevant to everyday lives. The Office of External Affairs and Communications is now providing broadcast interview training to academics, staff and students at the University for free.

Free Broadcast Interview Training for Cambridge academics, staff and students - Read More…

Announcing CamMed 3D group- exciting new ventures in all things 3D printing

Announcing CamMed 3D group- exciting new ventures in all things 3D printing

Media Studio, Cambridge University Hospitals’ comprehensive photography, video and graphic design service is pleased to announce two new ventures with the aim of encouraging innovation in and around Cambridge in all things 3D.

Announcing CamMed 3D group- exciting new ventures in all things 3D printing - Read More…

New paper out now! Programmed hierarchical patterning of bacterial populations

New paper out now! Programmed hierarchical patterning of bacterial populations

First author Christian Boehm, who earned his PhD in the Haseloff Lab and is the founder of the European Association of Synthetic Biology Students and Postdocs, reflects on the significance of this latest publication.

New paper out now! Programmed hierarchical patterning of bacterial populations - Read More…

Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) in Paris seeks group leaders to join the Collaborary

Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) in Paris seeks group leaders to join the Collaborary

The Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) experiments and spreads new ways of learning, teaching, conducting research and mobilizing collective intelligence in life, learning and digital sciences. The CRI is seeking candidates at different career stages, from postdoctoral young investigators to tenured scientists. Calls are now open for Core (5 year), Long-term (1-3 years) and Short-term (3-6 months fellows).

Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) in Paris seeks group leaders to join the Collaborary - Read More…

New report from the OpenPlant IP Working Group! Towards an Open Material Transfer Agreement

New report from the OpenPlant IP Working Group! Towards an Open Material Transfer Agreement

The OpenPlant Intellectual Property (IP) Working Group was formed to examine IP norms and policies that impede innovation in plant synthetic biology. The result was the development of the Open Material Transfer Agreement (OpenMTA), a legal tool for sharing DNA parts and other biological materials that allows IP-free sharing of foundational tools while promoting the scaling and commercialisation of novel advanced technologies.

New report from the OpenPlant IP Working Group! Towards an Open Material Transfer Agreement - Read More…

Loop Assembly: a simple and open system for recursive fabrication of DNA circuits

Loop Assembly: a simple and open system for recursive fabrication of DNA circuits

As part of a collaboration between the University of Cambridge the Universidad Catolica de Chile, Pollak and Federici have devised a new method for gene assembly based on two Type IIS restriction endonuceases, Bsal and Sapl. Loop Assembly allows rapid and efficient production of large DNA constructs, is compatible with widely used Level zero (L0) DNA parts such as Phytobricks, and can be easily automated.

Loop Assembly: a simple and open system for recursive fabrication of DNA circuits - Read More…

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