Bites from SynBioBeta

Around 1000 people, including myself, participated in Synbiobeta 2018, the Global Synthetic Biology Summit. The event was held in San Francisco, in October, gathering a growing community of inspired scientists, entrepreneurs, academics, investors, policy makers and pioneers using synthetic biology to build better and more sustainable ways to feed, fuel, and heal the world.

As member of the DAMP Lab, I was invited to talk on two different panels: Global Biofoundries and Emerging Women Leaders in Synthetic Biology. The first was led by Drs Freemont and Kitney, directors of Synbicite and my talk focused on the role of public biofoundries and the challenges these foundries face to function in a sustainable way. I shared the stage with many important members of the biomanufacturing community such as Amyris, Singer Instruments, and Evonetix. The second one was an amazing panel led by Christina Agapakis, from Ginkgo Bioworks, where we could freely discuss and share our experiences as women in leadership positions in the STEM field. The outcome of this and other panels was a super supportive, fun, and useful Slack channel (SynbioBetty)!

Women in Synthetic Biology Panel at SynBioBeta 2018

Some of the other events included an awesome fireside chat with George Church and Steve Wozniak (DIYBio met the Computer Club); a discussion around emerging security issues and the ethical usage of synthetic biology with Peter Carr and James Diggans among other brilliant scientists; and very helpful Lunch & Learns sessions, for instance at the session sponsored by Opentrons there was discussion around affordable, open-source lab automation. In addition to all the events and discussions there was a beautiful stage decorated with the Ecovative biomaterial made out of mycelium. Needless to say, participants definitely expanded their knowledge and network in this one-of-its-kind conference.

John Cumbers making crepes

Fun fact: John Cumber is a great crepe maker! (Photo credits: Mary Pavan)

Mary Pavan (@MaryPavan) is a passionate synthetic biology researcher and Manager of the DAMP Lab (@Damp_Lab) at Boston University.