SBWGLunches

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About SBWG

The Synthetic Biology Working Group (SBWG) is a forum led by graduate students at MIT, Harvard, and BU that acts as a central node for communication of synthetic biology research in the Boston area. The SBWG seminar series includes about 9 talks per semester and welcomes an array of highly qualified speakers from Boston and elsewhere. Talks are relatively informal and discussions are highly encouraged. These seminars are an opportunity to meet faculty, students, research staff and others interested in the field of synthetic biology. The SBWG also disseminates information regarding SB-related seminars, events, and groups.

Archived information from old lunches is at SynBERC:SBWGLunchesArchive.

Areas of interest

  • Characterization and standardization of biological parts and systems
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Implementing logic in biological systems
  • Biosensors
  • New research tools
  • Nucleic acid synthesis and sequencing
  • Minimal organisms and genomes
  • Social and political impacts
  • Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology

A Collaboration of the MIT, Harvard, and BU communities

Synthetic Biology was born in Boston. Researchers at MIT, Harvard, and Boston Universities were among the first to pioneer the field. iGEM, the international Genetically Engineered Machine competition, was inaugurated at MIT in 2003. The Biobricks Foundation was started by a group of MIT faculty and students.

Started at MIT, the Synthetic Biology Working Group was at the center of growth of synthetic biology at MIT for the better part of a decade. By 2012, the community of synthetic biologists in Boston had grown dramatically and reached a critical mass. That year, the student leadership of the SBWG decided to expand to the campuses of Harvard and Boston University. This expansion has greatly increased communication and collaboration between SB researchers at these campuses. SBWG's tri-institutional reach makes it the premier forum for the presentation and dissemination of cutting edge research in synthetic biology.

Current SBWG Seminar Schedule

Spring 2013

The theme of this semester's talks is “Moving Synthetic Biology to Industry”. This theme aims to highlight the value proposition of synthetic biology to industry in terms of its unique perspectives and approaches, emerging tools, and potential to solve problems that challenge industry and society.

We are always looking for more speakers, so if you or someone you know would be willing to speak on this topic, please contact one of the SBWG Committee members below.

  • To further promote interaction between the synthetic biology communities in Boston, this year the talks will be hosted by BU and Harvard as well as MIT.
  • Please note that:
    • @MIT will be Mondays at 12 pm (noon) in the 500 Tech Square (NE47) first floor conference room. This is different from last year.
    • @Harvard will be Tuesdays at 12 pm (noon) and will meet on the HMS campus in NRB (New Research Building), Rm. 350. (Check in with Harvard security first).
    • @BU will be Tuesdays at 12 pm (noon) and will meet in the Photonics Center, Rm. 339 (8 Saint Mary's St, Boston).

January 29: (Tues) → Brynne Stanton (Voigt Lab, MIT) @ MIT: "Developing a language to program cells"

February 5: (Tues) → David Berry [1] (Flagship Ventures) @ Harvard: “Synthetic Biology and the Audacity to Change the World”

February 12: (Tues) → Jason Kelly (Gingko Bioworks[2]) @ Harvard

March 5: (Tues) → Tim Lu [3] (MIT Synthetic Biology Center) @ Harvard

April 8: (Mon) → Angela DePace [4] (Harvard) @ MIT

April 23: (Tues) → Sri Kosuri [5] (Harvard) @ BU

April 29: (Mon) → Kevin Esvelt [6](Harvard) @ MIT

May 6: (Mon) → Tillman Gerngross [7] (Dartmouth, GlycoFi) @ MIT

May 13: (Mon) → Chris Voigt [8] @ (MIT Synthetic Biology Center) MIT

Direction Between Campuses

From MIT to Harvard (HMS) / From Harvard (HMS) to MIT:

The fastest way between campuses by public transportation is to take the CT2 or 47 buses towards Ruggles or Dudley, respectively. Transit time via bus ~20-30 min. You can also take the Red/Green(D) T lines and get off at Kendall and Longwood for MIT and HMS, respectively. Transit time via the T is ~40-50min. Taxi fare is ~$15. If you're a Harvard student, the Harvard shuttles are reported to be more convenient.

  • @ HMS, get off at Longwood Ave across from the Children's hospital and walk down Ave. Louis Pasteur to get to the NRB. When you arrive, you will need to check in with security to get a visitor's pass.
  • @ MIT, get off at the corner of Vassar/Massachusetts Ave., walk up to the Stata Center, and go under the overhanging archway under the Stata Center to get to Bldg. 56.

From MIT to BU / From BU to MIT:

The fastest way between BU and MIT by public transportation is to take the CT2 or 47 buses towards Ruggles or Dudley respectively. Transit time via bus ~10-20min. You can also take the Red/Green(B) T lines and get off at Kendall and BU Central for MIT and BU, respectively. Transit time via the T is ~30-40min. Taxi fare is ~$10. Walking takes 30-40 min.

  • @ BU, get off at the Lenox St. stop. From the stop, walk towards CITGO sign away from Commonwealth Avenue which will be behind you and to your left. You will arrive at the intersection of St. Mary's St. and Mountfort St. Turn left onto St. Mary's St. The Photonics Center is the first building on the right. Upon entering the building the venue is on the 3rd floor.
  • @ MIT, get off at the corner of Vassar/Massachusetts Ave., walk up to the Stata Center, and go under the overhanging archway under the Stata Center to get to Bldg. 56.

From Harvard (HMS) to BU / From Harvard (HMS) to BU:

The fastest way between Harvard (HMS) and BU by public transportation is to take the CT2 or 47 buses towards Ruggles or Dudley, respectively. Transit time with the bus is ~10 min. You can also take the Green(B)/Green(D) T lines and get off at BU Central and Longwood for BU and HMS, respectively. Transit time via the T is ~30-40min. Taxi fare is ~$5. Walking takes 20-30 min.

  • @ BU, get off at the Lenox St. stop. From the stop, walk towards CITGO sign away from Commonwealth Avenue which will be behind you and to your left. You will arrive at the intersection of St. Mary's St. and Mountfort St. Turn left onto St. Mary's St. The Photonics Center is the first building on the right. Upon entering the building the venue is on the 3rd floor.
  • @ HMS, get off at Longwood Ave across from the Children's hospital and walk down Ave. Louis Pasteur to get to the NRB. When you arrive, you will need to check in with security to get a visitor's pass.

Funding

We are grateful for funding from SynBERC and the MIT Graduate Student Council.

We are always happy to partner with foundations and companies who seek to interact with this highly active network of synthetic biologists.

SBWG Mailing List

Sending email to synthbio at mit dot edu will broadcast to the entire community. To add or remove yourself from the list, visit [[9]]

Current Schedule

Previous Schedules

Fall 2012

September 24: (Mon) → Drew Endy (Stanford University) @ MIT in 56-614: "Engineering w/ Serine Integrases, Alien Messages (?!), and Joy's Law"

October 1: (Mon) → Wilson Wong (BU) @ MIT in 56-614: "Synthetic Biology in Translational Medicine: Engineering T cells for cancer therapy"

October 16: (Tues ) → Mo Khalil (BU) @ Harvard in Countway Library (HMS Main Quad), Minot Room: "Programming cellular systems from the inside and out"

October 22: (Mon) → MIT iGEM team[10] @ MIT in 56-614: "RNA Strand Displacement for Sensing, Information Processing, and Actuation in Mammalian Cells"

October 29: (Mon) → Doug Densmore (BU) @ MIT in 56-614: “Synthetic Biology Design Automation: Challenges and Opportunities” CANCELED DUE TO HURRICANE SANDY. RESCHEDULED TO Nov. 26

November 6: (Tues) → Amy Keating (MIT) @ BU: "SYNZIPs: modular coiled-coil parts for protein engineering"

November 13: (Tues) → Rahul Sarpeshkar (MIT) @ Harvard in NRB 350: "Analog Synthetic and Systems Biology"

November 20: (Tues) → Domitilla del Vecchio (MIT) @ Harvard in NRB 350: "A Control Theory Approach to Design Biomolecular Circuits"

November 26: (Mon) → Doug Densmore (BU) @ MIT in 56-614: “Synthetic Biology Design Automation: Challenges and Opportunities”

November 27: (Tues) → Michael Laub (MIT) @ Harvard in NRB 350: "Exploiting studies of signaling protein evolution for synthetic biology"

December 3: (Mon) → Ron Weiss (MIT) @ MIT in 56-614: "Synthetic biology: from parts to modules to therapeutic systems".

December 10: (Mon) → James Collins (BU) @ MIT in 56-614. CANCELED. Will reschedule for next semester.

Spring 2012

January 30: Steve Goldfless (Niles Lab, MIT): "Building robust cross-platform gene expression control with synthetic RNA-protein interactions"

February 27: Lior Nissim (Lu lab, MIT): "A tunable dual-promoter integrator for targeting of cancer cells"

March 12: Justin Buck (Cambrian Innovation): "Bioelectrochemical systems"

April 2: Chris Pirie (Manus Biosynthesis): "Emergent integration of protein engineering, metabolic engineering, and synthetic biology"

April 23: Lawrence David (Alm lab, MIT): "A year-long study of daily changes to human microbiota"

May 7: Pete Carr (MIT Lincoln Labs): "Engineered Genetic Codes: Implications for Protein Design, Genetic Control, and Environmental Safety"

June 26: Jon Chestnut (Life Technologies): "Life Technology custom TAL effectors"

Fall 2011

September 12: Jeffrey Way (Wyss Institute): Synthetic biological approaches to bioenergy and multicomponent protein therapeutics

September 22 (Special time: Thursday at 11am): Prof. Feng Zhang (MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences)

October 3: MIT 2011 iGEM team

October 24: Tae Seok Moon (MIT BE): Construction of Synthetic Circuits by Harnessing Orthogonal Genetic Parts

October 31: Tina Toni (MIT BE/CSAIL): Computational design for noisy synthetic biology

November 21: Peter Carr (MIT Lincoln Labs), Daniel Ducat (Harvard Medical School), Allen Lin (MIT) & Prof. Kenneth Oye (MIT): Panel discussion on synthetic biology policy workshops

November 28: Noah Davidsohn (MIT BE): Predictive Composition of Genetic Circuits From Well Characterized Parts

December 5: Sri Kosuri (Wyss Institute): Writing in DNA: Development and applications of next generation DNA synthesis technologies

December 12: Prof. Chris Voigt (MIT BE)

December 19: Yuri Matsumoto (MIT BE): An Evolutionary approach to develop genetically encodable MRI contrast agents

Spring 2011

February 14: Barry Canton (Ginkgo Bioworks): Wetware, Hardware, and Smartware at Ginkgo Bioworks

February 28: Randy Rettberg (iGEM/Registry of Standard Biological Parts): What's new at the Registry

March 14: David Hagen (MIT BE): Vast uncertainty in biological models and how to deal with it

March 28: Evan Thompson (MIT Biology): SYNZIP interaction domains: Well-characterized interaction modules for biological engineering

April 25: Himanshu Dhamankar (MIT ChE): De novo pathway engineering for value added products from biomass: Biosynthesis of 3-hydroxybutyrolactone (3-HBL) from glucose

May 9: Kevin Esvelt (Wyss Institute at Harvard): A system for the continuous directed evolution of biomolecules

Fall 2010

September 13: Initial meeting. Discuss areas of interest for future seminars.

September 27:

  • Shawn Finney-Manchester (MIT ChemE): "A Method for In Vivo Targeted Mutagenesis"
  • Saurabh Gupta (MIT CSAIL/BE): "Genetically Programmed Pathogen Sense & Destroy"

October 25: MIT 2010 iGEM Team: Presentation of this year's project and results

November 22: Peter Carr (MIT Media Lab)

November 29: Jake Beal (BBN Technologies): "High Level Languages for Synthetic Biology"

December 6: Asst. Prof. Tim Lu (MIT EECS)

Coordinators

If you have any questions about the Synthetic Biology Working Group series or would like to present, be contact one of the current coordinators below:

Current:

Deepak Mishra [dmishra at mit dot edu] (PhD Candidate, MIT Dept. of Biological Engineering, Weiss lab)

Felix Moser [fmoser at mit dot edu] (PhD Candidate, MIT Dept. of Biological Engineering, Voigt lab)

Swapnil Bhatia [bhatia.swapnil at gmail dot com] (Postdoc, BU Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Densmore lab)

Daniel B. Goodman [dbg at mit dot edu] (PhD Candidate in Bioinformatics and Genomics, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Church Lab)

Alumni:

Jeff Wagner [jcwagner at mit] (PhD Candidate, MIT Dept. of Biological Engineering, Niles lab)

Steve Goldfless [sjg at mit] (PhD Candidate, MIT Dept. of Biological Engineering, Niles lab)

Brian Belmont, PhD [bbelmont at mit] (Previously MIT Dept. of Biological Engineering, Niles lab)

Please contact one of the current coordinators if you're an alum and would like your name/contact info added here.

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